[su_heading size=”18″]Talking to our Children About Drug Use[/su_heading]
Recently, I received the heads up that I should attend a meeting in Aspen, Colorado to be held at the Little Nell Hotel and presented by; The Buddy Program, empowering youth through mentoring experiences in order to achieve their full potential; The Valley Marijuana Council, creating a cohesive community approach to facilitate the safe, responsible and successful inception of recreational marijuana into the Aspen/Pitkin County community; and Community Heath Initiatives, promoting healthy behavior by sponsoring workplace and community programs and providing outpatient counseling to youth and adults. The title of the meeting was to be, “Talking to your Kids About Marijuana Health: Effects and Available Resources,” and so I went.
[su_heading size=”18″]Talking to your Kids About Marijuana Health: Effects and Available Resources [/su_heading]
I sat behind Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo and amongst less than a handful of parents and listened to Erin Flynn, Retail Marijuana and Youth Prevention Coordinator for the State of Colorado, alert us to the important resource websites for adolescent marijuana and substance use information, SpeakNowColorado.org and Coloradogov.com. Flynn affirmed that the conversations about drugs and alcohol must begin with your child between the ages of 9 -13, when they still view you as their role model and are listening, and emphasized the importance of reaching your children BEFORE they reach their freshman year.
[su_heading size=”18″]HOW TO TALK TO YOUR YOUTH ABOUT MARIJUANA[/su_heading]
Next, Executive Director of CHI, Shelley Evans opened her presentation by stating, “I’m scared to death to give you the data but please do not go running to the superintendent or sheriff and police chief with your fears. It is not somebody else’s issue. It’s ours, as parents.”
“Hot off the press” Evans presented the 2015 data collected from surveys given to Aspen High School and Aspen Middle School students (see below) by Freedom from Chemical Dependency (FCD), the leading international nonprofit provider of school-based substance abuse prevention services. The room grew quiet:
2015 Local Student Data Marijuana Use: 8th – 12th Graders:
**U.S. averages/Aspen averages
2015 Local Student Data Alcohol Use: 8th – 12th graders
Aspen High School 2015/2016 Concerns:
Evans ended her presentation by stating something extremely powerful, “There is recent research that indicates that when students leave home for college their actual marijuana use at college is affected more by whether you as a parent approve or disapprove of it; whether you did or didn’t monitor them while they were in high school and while they are at college, more than any other factor including; their peers, their environment and their perceptions of use. Altogether, you are the most important person in their lives; what you did and you didn’t do, what you said or didn’t say and whether you monitored them. It’s never too early to talk to them and tell them that you don’t want them to use or drink and that you want them to be safe….We went in and did surveys in the Aspen High School and asked kids how many of their parents had had that conversation with them and it wasn’t many. It’s all about you. Take your power back!”
Soooo….how to take your power back? Visit the websites shown in this post and sign up with our Parent to Parent Alliance by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As soon as I have back-up support I will re-gather the troops and continue on with our mission to empower parents to unify and together and be mindful, present and aware AND work with the schools on engaging the students to begin their own campaigns to stand up and be proud that they are part of the percentage who chooses not to abuse drugs and alcohol.
RESOURCES FOR PARENTS ON MARIJUANA AND SUBSTANCE USE:
**Valley Partnership for Drug Prevention has merged with CHI to combine forces with their mission to reduce substance abuse from Aspen to Parachute and stop duplicating services in the area, Shelley was the Executive Director of VPDP from 1997-2006.