More and more kids today are doing drugs in high school, middle school, and yes, even grade school. Today, if your children are not "doing" drugs, they are getting more and more peer pressure to "begin" doing drugs...to "try" drugs. It doesn't matter if it's a public school, private school, parochial, school, or a military academy. Every school in America - and every one of its students - is experiencing this same challenge today.
One of our granddaughters, 15 years old at the time, told us of witnessing one of her classmates - on a dare - "snort" a line of cocaine at her school desk while in a 10th grade history class and the teacher was distracted. The school was private, parochial, and one of the most prestigious and respected in Orange County, California.
In mid-2002, the school principal, vice-principal, and three teachers at a small private school in the East were arrested, handcuffed, and taken away on a school day...accused of dealing drugs AT their school...to students AT their school!
Illicit drugs AND prescription drugs (for illicit use) abound and are for sale everywhere. They're very easy to get, and many "drug pushers" are willing to give drugs away to kids to get them started and get them hooked on using...so they will later start to pay for them. Worse, fewer "drug pushers" today are the 20+ or 30+ year old scumbags who hang around outside the school grounds waiting to "deal". Today, more than you realize, the "dealers" to the kids are among the sixth graders, the eighth graders, the juniors and seniors who attend those schools!
We Googled, "kids arrested for selling drugs" recently while preparing this article. There were 1,720,000 listings of newspaper, magazine and other articles and websites reporting arrests of adults selling drugs to kids, kids selling drugs to kids, kids making drugs, kids found to be in a "drug ring". Try this or a similar search term on Google yourself some time! For example, this search will scare the heck out of you: "age of youngest kids arrested for selling drugs". You'll read about arrests for drug sales to and by kids as young as 9, 10, and 11.
In our own offices here in Costa Mesa, California we have more than 200 families bring their children in as often as weekly to have us randomly test them for drug-use. As a community service, we test any children brought by their parents into our local offices at our cost, and provide the parents with drug-abuse prevention counseling for free.
The majority of the kids parents bring to us "look" and sound like good, clean cut, All-American kids (very few look like "gang-bangers"). Regardless, more than 70% of these kids test "positive" for one or more drugs on their first visit! The good news is, up to 95% of the children who initially tested "positive" begin consistently test "negative" after their third, fourth, or later visit.
OHS Inc. started our "Youth at Risk" and "Parents Taking Action" community service programs in 2001. Among our very first participants back then was a single father with three children: two sons, nine and eleven, and a daughter who was thirteen. First time in, all three children tested positive for marijuana. Additionally, the nine year old boy also tested positive for cocaine. Nine years old, and positive for marijuana and cocaine! Can you believe it? It's true! It's ridiculous. It's damn sad. And don't think for one minute that it "must be" because it was a "Southern California" family, or a "lower middle class" family. If you do, you are simply in denial.
A few years ago in nearby upscale Newport Beach, California the 17 year old son of a local municipal court judge was arrested for having a meth lab in the garage at his home, and "distributing" an illegal substance. His dad, this "Honorable" Judge sued the police for unlawful search and seizure. Talk about a parent being in denial!
The tragedy of drug-use among our children - pre-teens as well as teens - is taking place all across America and across the entire social spectrum. It is happening in YOUR town, it is happening in YOUR kid's school, and - perhaps - it is happening in YOUR family.
Unfortunately, the odds are great that it IS happening - or will happen - in your family, no matter how great and loving parents you are; no matter how much you...and your friends...and your neighbors...all think your children are "perfect" kids. Sadly, even the best kids of the best parents can get "sucked in" to trying drugs at least once. Sometimes, for some kids, once is not enough, twice is not, and addiction begins.
A national survey of students at more than 8,000 schools across the nation in 2009 found that 94% of all high school students had tried marijuana or another illicit drug "at least once" before graduating. How many of the "6%" who said they had not tried a drug, actually lied...thinking they might get into trouble for admitting drug use? Think about it.
Incredulous? You don't believe it could happen to your children? Do you feel absolutely certain that your children do NOT use drugs? Then prove it. MAKE certain. Begin to test them "randomly", e.g., right after they get home from a date, a party, a "sleep-over", a homecoming game or other school function.
If you are correct, great. If nothing else, you'll have peace of mind and personal satisfaction. And the benefit to your kids is, you've given them one more solid reason to just say, "No!" ("I can't! My parents randomly drug test me!"). Help your children - no matter their age - to sidestep this tremendous and constant peer-pressure they experience today and every day from their schoolmates. Compared to the peer-pressure from schoolmates that we parents and grandparents experienced growing up in the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's - it has never been stronger! Frankly, as a parent or grandparent today we have NO IDEA how bad it is!
Drug testing your children does not have to pulled as a "surprise" to them. Sit them down and explain quietly but firmly of your decision to begin randomly testing them. Explain your reason is, “Just more reason they will have to say "No!" if they are ever approached to "try" drugs. If you are convinced that your children do NOT use drugs, then it is NOT necessary at this time to tell them about the "restrictions" you would apply to them if they were ever to test positive.
But in fact, that high success rate (95%) of the parent’s children we work with locally is primarily because we have convinced the parents to "penalize" their children following any/every "positive" drug test. Some penalties we recommended include applying one - OR MORE - of the following. The restriction or restrictions you choose should be appliedUNTIL AT LEAST THE NEXT 'NEGATIVE' DRUG TEST (or best- until only after the next TWO-IN-ROW "negative" drug tests:
NOTE: It is important that your child’s friends, too, are aware of these restrictions and the reason for them, and they will learn that soon enough from your child. That will sometimes encourage his/her “better” friends to support them to get back on track and remain drug-free.
If you do “suspect” (yes, as we know too well: you likely do NOT) that your children are using drugs, then it IS important that you DO tell them – in detail - of the restrictions you will impose any time they test positive.
Finally, regardless of whether or not your children use drugs, expect “denial”. Expect to hear, “Mom, Dad, I DON’T use drugs and none of my friends do either!”, and, “Honest, there are kids at school I know that use drugs, but my friends and I don’t hang out with them!” It is OK if you believe them and, truly, it may BE the truth. Regardless, that truth is NOT reason enough for you to back off of your decision to test - and thereby - HELP them!
It is also common to hear them protest this way, “But...Mom, Dad, don’t you trust me?” One answer we suggest is, “Yes, we DO trust you and we LOVE you! But when we were your age, we sometimes didn’t trust ourselves with certain life-changing decisions. We know the peer-pressure that is out there today trying to negatively influence you and others your age is much-much stronger than any we had to try and ignore at your age. We want to give you an easy way out of making a wrongdecision, and our drug testing you...and your telling everyone you know that we drug test you...will help you immensely.”
Remember- you must be firm, lay out the rules, and convince your progeny that the random testing program is for their own good. You are protecting them in spite of themselves!