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"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Myths About Drug Use by Tim McDowell
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Friday, May 18, 2007

Tim McDowell is a Student Assistance Coordinator and Licensed Social Worker at North Hills High School. He has written this brutal eye-opener about misconceptions that people have about teenagers and drug abuse. The assumptions that we hold about drug use have EVERYTHING to do with the actions that we take to address this life threatening disease of addiction in our teens.

Ø You can change adolescence with a talk. Wrong- No cure for adolescence, no magic talk will change adolescents from being curious, or invincible risk takers. You had better appeal to something else.

Ø Kids use drugs because they don’t know that they are dangerous and illegal. Wrong - Kids know, but don’t care. They think they’re invincible and will never get caught.

Ø You can scare kids into not using drugs. Wrong – Kids are invincible and “IT NEVER HAPPENS TO THEM”, always someone else. They “know” they will be smarter and not let it happen.

Ø Some counseling is better than nothing. Wrong - You don’t put a band-aid on a broken arm. It may pacify your conscience, but its not helping your kid.

Ø You can shame kids into not using drugs. Wrong - Drug use brings on enough shame. There’s already a perceived inability to overcome this. They need professional help and support.

Ø You can control your teen’s drug use. Wrong – You have zero control over your child’s drug use, but you have complete control over what you will accept or not. Draw a line in the sand. If you’re walking on egg-shells, You’ve already lost control. Let the professionals help you get it back.

Ø You should handle your family’s drug use discreetly. Wrong - Shout it from the rooftops. Take advantage of every possible resource or professional available. Have the entire community keeping an eye on your kid. If you are clear that no shame is deserved, you aren’t embarrassed to speak up.

Ø You can make your kid want to get clean. Wrong - They have to be uncomfortable and hurting enough to want something different. That’s where you come in.

Ø When things get bad, we’ll get him into a treatment program. Wrong – Treatment may not be an option. Insurance companies may say “not bad enough” or can be put on 3-month waiting list.

Questions – You can email Tim McDowell at mcdowellt@nhsd.k12.pa.us or call him at 412.318.1422

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