“The other big problem is prescription drugs,” announced the Indiana Association of Prosecuting Attorneys vice president. Opiates have been used by the elderly with chronic pain problems to make them comfortable until they die. “The kids think it’s OK” to ingest because it’s legal. The drug “came from a doctor. It’s medicine. One’s made by a pharmaceutical company. One’s made by terrorists or the cartel. Both are addictive and dangerous.”
In many cases, “the first doses of drugs our children are getting (and abusing) are coming from us or their grandparents in medicine cabinets.”
Drug addiction “is so difficult to fix,” Negangard mused.
“What’s clear is we have to prevent this. What has changed (in society) that has made this much more prevalent? ... Alcohol is a bigger problem now, in part, because of the marketing and products. If you start drinking at age 12, you have a 50 percent chance of having a substance abuse problem. That’s like flipping a coin: ‘Am I going to have a good life or a difficult one?’” Because a young brain is not fully developed, using alcohol at a young age will essentially reprogram it to become substance abuse dependent.
The speaker asked, “What can we do as parents? We have to set a good example. If we party every weekend, our kids are going to believe that’s what adults do. They’re not going to get good examples from television … or movies.
“Set rules clearly,” he emphasized. “Be consistent. Be a parent and not a buddy. I don’t like being the jerk all the time, but I have to be. I love them enough to discipline them … to ground them. If we don’t, no one else is going to.”
The prosecutor recommended going to www.drugfree.org. “It tells you how to talk to children about drugs at each and every age. Talk to your children early and often about drugs and alcohol and your expectations. Kids will be frustrated when we lay down the law, but deep down they appreciate the boundaries.”