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Recommendations For Responding To Halton Youth Drug Abuse
Recommendations For Responding To Halton Youth Drug Abuse
Recommendations For Responding To Halton Youth Drug Abuse
Recommendations For Responding To Halton Youth Drug Abuse
Recommendations For Responding To Halton Youth Drug Abuse
Recommendations For Responding To Halton Youth Drug Abuse
Recommendations For Responding To Halton Youth Drug Abuse
Recommendations For Responding To Halton Youth Drug Abuse
Recommendations For Responding To Halton Youth Drug Abuse
Recommendations For Responding To Halton Youth Drug Abuse
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Recommendations For Responding To Halton Youth Drug Abuse

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Adolescent Drug Abuse In Halton …

Adolescent Drug Abuse In Halton

In recent months there have been several media stories relating directly and indirectly to our youth and their use of drugs. As a result of these stories and the parents' need for information, Parent Watch hosted a drug presentation on December 18, 1996. There were approximately 120 people in attendance. Officer Michalski of the Halton Regional Police conducted a drug awareness presentation that was followed by a student panel discussion. At the end of the presentation we made a commitment to hold a follow-up meeting, which was held on January 15, 1997.

The purpose of the meeting was to address some of the issues raised and facilitate community discussion. The exercise was most informative and to some degree therapeutic for those of us struggling to address the issues of drug abuse.

We would ask that readers of this report be aware that although some of the recommendations may already be in place, unattainable or unrealistic, it is the process of community involvement that is important. In addition, parent Watch and its members would hope that they are not perceived to be pontificating, but rather participating.

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  • 1. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RESPONDING TO HALTON YOUTH DRUG ABUSE Prepared by: Ray Pidzamecky M.S.W. & Penny Smith M.S.W. CSW (With input from Parents and Concerned Citizens who attended the Parent Watchmeeting on January 15, 1997.) E-mail: raypidzamecky@gmail.com PARENT WATCH ® Est. May 1993 January 23, 1997 (Parent Watchis a recipient of a Partners Against Crimecommunity crime prevention grant from the Ontario Provincial Government in March 1998 & 1999)
  • 2. Table of ContentsParent Watch Mandate………………………………………………………...……..3Introduction………………………………………………………………………………3Adolescent Drug Abuse in Halton………………………………………………………4Recommendations………………………………………………………………………..5 1. Schools………………………………………………………………………4 2. Parents………………………………………………………………………6 3. Police………………………………………………………………………...6 4. Town………………………………………………………………………....7 5. Agencies…………………………………………………………………......7 6. Law………………………………………………………………………......8 7. Business & Institutions……………………………………………………..9 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………...9 WHAT ARE THE SIGNS Of USE?………………………...…………………….11
  • 3. Parent Watch mandate is to help parentsempower themselves to: • Monitor their children and the negative influences upon them. • Identify and implement solutions to common problems. • Take action in the best interests of their children and their families.IntroductionParent Watch was created to respond to parents who are committed to and concernedabout the welfare of their children. During the last four years we have attempted toassist and empower parents by providing a forum to share technical expertise, whetherit is parental or professional in origin. Empowerment in part, comes from the lived andworking experiences of others. In addition to this, active participation by parentsalleviates their feelings of helplessness, isolation and victimization. As a member ofParent Watch, an individual is clearly participating in an action of common good. TheParent Watch forum has created and helps to sustain a synergy that we believe isunique in our community. We believe our greatest accomplishment is our success increating that synergy.Parent Watch operates from very specific points of view. These include the following: It is a myth that all parents, all the time, are to blame for their particular child’sproblems, yet we as professionals, in some cases, find ourselves supporting this mythimplicitly and/or explicitly. Research clearly refutes this myth. If we must lay blame,weshould also be looking at: Advertising Declining Community Services Inadequate and Insufficient Legislation Economic Stresses Environmental Pollution Mental Health Issues Poverty
  • 4. Declining School Resources: e.g. Social Workers, Child Care Workers, Psycho-Educational Consultants, Speech / Language Consultants Insufficient Proactive Servicing/Intervention/Prevention Agency Territoriality and Duplication2. It is an oversimplification to say a childs problems result from working parents.3. As parents, citizens and professionals we find ourselves working in isolation which works against community synergy.4. Community resources cannot take the place of parents. Community resources should in most cases, support families, not only the individual child.5. There appears to be a lack of direct and timely service for parents in crisis.6. We firmly believe that parents have been disempowered and that children are making major decisions and assuming adult responsibilities at a younger age. In some instances parents feel powerless while children acquire more power, control, authority and rights.Adolescent Drug Abuse In HaltonIn recent months there have been several media stories relating directly and indirectly toour youth and their use of drugs. As a result of these stories and the parents need forinformation, Parent Watch hosted a drug presentation on December 18, 1996. Therewere approximately 120 people in attendance. Officer Michalski of the Halton RegionalPolice conducted a drug awareness presentation that was followed by a student paneldiscussion. At the end of the presentation we made a commitment to hold a follow-upmeeting, which was held on January 15, 1997.The purpose of the meeting was to address some of the issues raised and facilitatecommunity discussion. The exercise was most informative and to some degree therapeuticfor those of us struggling to address the issues of drug abuse.We would ask that readers of this report be aware that although some of therecommendations may already be in place, unattainable or unrealistic, it is the process ofcommunity involvement that is important. In addition, parent Watch and its memberswould hope that they are not perceived to be pontificating, but rather participating.Recommendations1. Schools
  • 5. • Principals should request "smoke police" enforce law• zero tolerance to drugs• community needs to give a clear mandate that empowers schools to take action• conduct locker inspections/searches• co-operate with and utilize police resources• educate parents through regular school communication, for example, include insert with reports/correspondence to parents about drugs• start targeting younger ages, e.g. 10 years• focus on childrens self-esteem• be aware of "off the wall" behaviour• offer healthy activities• co-ordinate intramural teams for schools, enabling participation at varying levels of skill; intramural teams needed in secondary schools• shorten lunch period for younger students• have clear rules and consequences• enforce codes of behaviour• our Boards of Education can learn from existing boards that have specific drug intervention models/policies in place• empower teachers to tell parents of suspected drug abuse, just as they are empowered to report suspected child abuse• target harden all school personnel by making participation in a drug presentation mandatory (Halton Regional Police Service)• parents, teachers, social workers, probation officers, judges, crown attorneys, psychologists and psychiatrists must decide as a group how they feel about "soft drugs" such as marijuana and hash and take a consistent stand• admit that drugs are an issue• increase support services for students within schools• each geographical area should have a designated school open for youth activities on Friday/Saturday evenings• liaise with churches• all schools should participate in a Halton wide, Halton developed and owned drug survey2. Parents• parent networking• homes are sanctuaries-give clear messages that drug use is not acceptable• allowance-do not give allowance unless it is warranted• be aware of peers and their parents as much as possible• encourage open conversation with children• communicate with peers parents
  • 6. • be non-judgmental whenever possible• children could offer consequences for their behaviour when appropriate and give vent to their feelings• be a good role model• be aware of your childs limitations-do not put them in irresistible situations e.g. leaving them alone with alcohol/drugs being readily accessible• consider making your home alcohol free• dont be afraid to utilize police resources• become informed/knowledgeable• dont be afraid to search your childs room/clothes-your right to ensure your childs safety outweighs their right to privacy• parents should participate in a drug awareness seminar• parents need to learn about over the counter drugs3. Police• police cooperation and support is essential for parents dealing with childrens substance abuse• dont tell parents that the Young Offenders Act only gives "slaps on the wrist" and therefore recommend no criminal charges-parents are asking for support in their desire to take control• change the deterrent, enforce the consequences• consistent response to youth drug use• follow through and make kids accountable• dont say you dont have the resources and therefore are only interested in the suppliers-the kids already know that• enforce probation orders• are your hands really tied?-some parents perceive the buck is being passed• increase community policing resources: School Liaison Officers, Drug Squad• utilize resources like police dogs within schools-dont initiate a canine program for the sake of creating public relations, use like you use the R.I.D.E. Program, charge to reduce/deter• remove restrictions, make it easier to search and charge• develop mediation service• establish youth bureau dedicated to youth services4. Town• facilitate community activities and initiatives for youth recreation• community dances• coffee houses
  • 7. • teen drop-in-centres• remove some of the charges for recreation-participation is restricted to those who can afford fees-not universal• curfew for adolescents-impose and enforce• hire street workers to reach out to were some of the youth in crisis are5. Agencies• collect and collate drug use data from Phase 1, Phase 2 Probation and other agencies serving youth• waiting lists for services are too long• lack of safe havens for youth within their immediate communities e.g. Group homes, youth hostels, drug rehabilitation centres, residential treatment beds• more support groups• use media effectively, positive messages for youth• peer mentoring, peer mediation• focus on younger children ages 7 years and up• need probation officers to enforce orders more-not to be social workers• probation officers should ask parents what they need via probation order to support them in parenting their youth• encourage parents to make recommendations to the judge• enforce truancy violations-when students arent in school what are they doing and with whom• hospitals should develop a recording system that reflects gender, age and drug use when drug abuse is the primary or secondary reason for service (admission or emergency treatment)• coordinate agency based storefront for youth services along the lines of the Dufferin Mall, Square One and Jackson Square Projects• investigate the possibility of tri-ministry initiative e.g. Breakaway/George Hull Drug Program in Etobicoke with a view to establishing a similar program in Halton (Ministries of Education, Health & Social Services)• a new Provincial Ministry with responsibility for all Youth issues6. Law• no fines for drug possession, rather community service and probation order with at least the following conditions: 1. curfew 2. assessment through drug counselling service 3. counselling 4. reporting to probation officer • curfews • parental input at court regarding probation conditions
  • 8. • have someone to support and work with parents at court-youth has a lawyer • C.A.S. to hold parents accountable when parents contribute to delinquency e.g. Supply drugs, alcohol) and condone it • charge parents who provide drugs • more referrals from court to programs not fines • assist/promote/clarify the Halton Police Residence Registry • court should ask parents what they need to control their child • start looking at more meaningful consequences • revise/change the Young Offenders Act • give families more rights rather than the individual (child) • in some cases, give youth a choice e.g. Charge or rehabilitation, detoxification, assessment, divertment • give education system teeth • look at laws for over the counter drugs • enforce/prosecute cigarette violations eg. increase fines • inservice judges around the issues of substance abuse • more manpower and dollars to enforcement and treatment • Halton is underfunded and under serviced • need statistics from law that include warnings/diversions/cautions • police statistics do not reflect current youth drug situation • if charged with a drug/alcohol offence, lose privilege to drive when youth comes of legal age for a period of time • give principals power to charge, support to call in the police and have charges laid and or initiate participation in a divertment program • youth drug statistics need to be published at least quarterly and shared with parents7. Business & Institutions• approach the town about local by-laws regarding smoking under 19• use under-cover youth to expose store owners in violation• stiffer penalties required for selling to minors• allow parents to charge businesses and have their licenses revoked• encourage business (B.I.A.: Business Improvement Association) to be on committees, support drug awareness programs• raise the price of cigarettes• encourage business to support recreational facilities for youth (financially or otherwise)• Health Protection Unit-how many smoke police is there, what are the statistics for charges in Halton?
  • 9. • dialogue with representatives from the L.C.B.O., Brewers Retail, Pharmacies, Convenience Stores etc.• ensure proper labelling of acetaminophen products-overdose can cause liver and kidney damageConclusionWe would like to thank all those who participated for their unselfish efforts and we hopethat their suggestions lead to further discussions and action. WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF DRUG USE?
  • 10. You may begin to suspect that your children are using drugs if you notice that they are acting differently or if you findstrange objects around the house. These changes may mean the child is using drugs or they may not. Teenagers areoften very moody. However a serious change of character and particularly extended over a period of time may be asign that the child is using drugs. Be careful not to jump to conclusions since many of these changes can also be signsof normal adolescence or signs of other kinds of problems.Changes In Mood:• less caring and less involved at home• cranky or more difficult to get along with• moody• secretive and uncooperative• withdrawn, depressedPhysical Changes:Your child may:• lose weight• get red eyes• have trouble talking or walking• have difficulty sleeping or sleep long hours into the morningChanges In Behaviour:Your child may:• skip classes at school• get bad grades• need more money (you may notice money is missing)• lose her job• change friends and not be willing to bring them home or talk about them• have trouble concentrating and paying attention• spend more time in his room or away from home• change interests and hobbies• receive late night calls or other phone calls from people you dont knowThese objects may be used by your child to take drugs or to cover up the use of drugsObjects/Equipment used to take drugs:• cigarette papers-(for rolling joints)• roach clips-(for smoking joints)• hash pipes-(for smoking hash)• glass water pipes-(for smoking hash or crack)• syringes-(for injecting drugs)• vial-(for hash oil)• small scales-(for weighing drugs)• pills, powder, other substances that you cant identify• pop bottles with holes in the bottom• pop cans with punched holes• scorched knivesObjects/Equipment used to cover up drug use:• eye drops (to reduce blood-shot eyes caused by smoking marijuana)• mouth wash (to cover up breath odours)• incense (to cover up smell of smoking drugs, such as marijuana, hash in houseSOURCE: A PARENT HANDBOOK FROM PARENTS AGAINST DRUGS (PAD)

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