With news last week that actress Demi Moore suffered seizures after smoking some kind of incense-like drug, I once again realized how far out of the loop I am.
I’d never heard of the drug and was blown away to discover that it’s apparently legal and sold at gas station check-out counters. It’s marketed as incense and not for human consumption, but in talking to folks this week most everyone knows you smoke it. Mind you, I’ve sometimes been accused of being very naïve. But back in the day, I think I had a pretty good handle on what was going on around me.
I know for sure that when I was a high schooler kids drank beer and alcohol and that marijuana was a favorite among some. While going to college in Colorado, I also stumbled upon my share of students — some of them friends — doing drugs that I would consider more dangerous, such as cocaine. I guess I’m fortunate that these weren’t appealing to me.
As a mom, I’ve been increasingly alarmed during the past couple of years at how easily accessible some of the new designer drugs like ecstasy and meth and GHB seem to be. Stories of kids overdosing or having problems after using these drugs aren’t common in the news, but they are prevalent enough to be of concern.
At dinner this week my kids were a little offended when I asked them to promise me they won’t do drugs. I’m not so naïve as to think that they won’t experiment in their own way. But my worry is not so much that my kids will seek out these kinds of recreational drugs, but more that they’ll be in the wrong place at the wrong time or won’t realize what they’re being offered.
Somehow we’ve gotten to a place where homemade drugs like meth and synthetic drugs are appealing. And I’m afraid it’s going to get worse and likely won’t get better. I can’t affect the masses. But that’s where we as parents come in.
Start talking to your kids at an early age about how harmful drugs can be. And the old-fashioned advice of knowing where your kids are, who they’re with and what they’re doing is more important than ever. Ask questions, too, when their behavior is suspicious or erratic. Kids do look to their parents to set the example and they care what we think. If we help our kids build a strong sense of confidence, teach them about the importance of making smart decisions, love them unconditionally and encourage them to follow their dreams, maybe we’ll turn this trend around one kid at a time.
Julie Stafford is publisher of The Daily News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (616) 548-8260.