Teen Drugs Deaths – Parents Are The Answer
Teenagers from the UK are more likely than most of their European counterparts to have taken drugs, drunk alcohol or smoked, according to reports by the Alcohol and Health Research Centre.
And there’s plenty evidence to back the revelation up- just last week police arrested a 13 year old dealer in Oxford, while last month a Liverpool court sentenced a 15-year-old boy to seven years imprisonment after the youth stabbed his friend to death in a drug fuelled rage.
The headlines come as the parents of murdered heroin addict Emma Caldwell launch the latest phase of the Know the Score initiative. The initiative aims to give parents the information and advice they need to talk to their children about drugs. Her parents admit they felt helpless in the face of drugs, saying “Parents need to be informed and then they can give their children the proper information. Not information that they might glean from school friends, or when they are out in the evenings.”
About time too- ParentLine Scotland (0808 800 2222) found worries surrounding children’s behavior and misuse of drugs or alcohol topped a list of parent’s concerns, with one in five parents of teens saying they had experienced problems with their children and thought they needed help.
Yet two thirds of adults questioned were unaware of any organization that could provide help and support to concerned parents- CHILDREN 1ST, the children’s welfare charity, see this as a huge concern. Resources such as the Know the Score website and the free and confidential ParentLine Scotland helpline should help bridge the communication gap between parents and children, while CHILDREN 1ST additionally offers ‘Supporting Families’ and Family Group Conferences, with drop in sessions, counseling and befriending services too. Here help, advice and support are all available, free of charge, with centres located up and down the country.
It is in this way that we can turn around the culture of teenage drug abuse. But bringing about change takes time, money and considerable effort- by the government, by parents and children alike, and by these organisations themselves. Happily, CHILDREN 1ST is one of four Scottish charities helped by the People’s Postcode Lottery. By taking part in Scotland’s own charity lottery, players have raised a stunning £569,547 for CHILDREN 1ST – more than enough to run the ParentLine service for an entire year.
It is help like this that will lead to a safer, healthier and more drugs-aware Britain. The latest figures from the Alcohol and Health Research Centre have shown a slight decline in illicit drug use since the last survey of its kind in 1995- with measures in place to increase communication, knowledge sharing and support, let’s hope this decline is one set to continue.