As with so many of today’s social ills, the use of mind altering drugs and hallucinogenic substances became popular back in the sixties, along with the rise in sexual promiscuity, gang violence, teenage rebellion and many other social anomalies. This is also the time when we would begin seeing the beginnings of the dismantling of the traditional family structure, a key element in any drug abuse prevention effort. So the task of dealing with this menacing element of today’s society is more challenging. This is not to say however that drug abuse prevention is not doable it only makes it tougher when there is little to no strong family support.
So How Do We Tackle This 50-Year-Old Problem?
Two words: “Early education.” We can no longer afford to wait until a child is beyond his/her formidable years and on into the teenage and adolescence stages of their lives before we begin talking about the dangers of getting involved with drugs. We live in a very corrupt society and our kids are exposed to the ills and ugliness almost from conception. They watch violence and drug use on TV. Drugs and gang violence has even made it into the video games kids are playing. Children in the inner cities across America are all too familiar with the local neighborhood dealers. And on and on it goes.
Therefore a truly effective drug abuse prevention program must start at an early age in the child’s life. After all we are talking about prevention, which by definition means to “not allow”. Once a person becomes involved with drugs, you’re beyond the prevention stages and into the curing and rehabilitating stage.
Early education about the consequences of drug use can take on, and frankly should, take on many different forms, and involve several segments of the society. First and foremost the child needs parental guidance. Unfortunately today’s family structure as mentioned above may not always be ideal or as strong as it should be for a number of different reasons. Nevertheless some form of structured leadership within the home is vital to the success of a drug abuse prevention for children and adolescence.
Teachers and educators in our school system have a huge role to play in convincing kids of the dangers awaiting them with that first puff of Pot. Our education system must take a stronger stand in this endeavor, as more often than not, young kids have certain teachers they see as role models, and these are the people who can truly make a difference in this fight. Clergy and other religious organizations can and should step up as well. As leaders in the communities, they own as much of this problem as anyone.
And what about the rest of us? Should we stand by and wait for the government to come up with effective drug abuse prevention laws and measures? If that’s what you’re waiting for…Good Luck! And if you are of the belief that there’s nothing you can do to help resolve this issue, you’re dreadfully mistaking, for there’s lots you can do:
Start an after-school mentoring program
Become a softball, flag football, soccer coach
Become a tutor. Help kids with their homework
Give a child an after-school job
Join a “Big Brother/Big Sister” organization
Etc., etc., etc.
If enough of us can find ways to somehow place ourselves smack dab in the middle of a kid’s leisure time, we can become part of the most effective drug abuse prevention program ever. Hillary Clinton once said, “It takes a village to raise a child.” And she was right.
Drug Abuse Prevention In The Sports World:
One of the most unfortunate trends in the whole arena of drug abuse is the recent rise in abuse found among our major athletes. These men and women are our heroes. Our kids look up to them and want to be just like them. Developing a drug abuse prevention program for athletes is absolutely crucial. This is especially true when we consider the number of body-builders, wrestlers, football players, and other athletes whose lives were cut short because of substance abuse.
The world of sports thrives on competition. Being the best you can be. Getting that competitive edge over the other guy. And too often our bright young men and women risk their lives pursuing that “one little something” that will give them the edge and make them faster, bigger, stronger. Clearly finding the answer to drug abuse prevention for our young athletes will be a daunting task. But it can, and must be done.
One approach might be to consider using the drug-abusing athletes themselves.
“I’m sick, and I’m scared. Ninety percent of the athletes I know are on the stuff. We’re not born to be 300 pounds or jump 30 feet. But all the time I was taking steroids…My hair’s gone, I wobble when I walk and have to hold onto someone for support, and I have trouble remembering things. My last wish? That no one else ever dies this way.”
These are the words of professional football player, Lyle Alzado, before he died as a result of his steroids use. Who knows how many youngsters could be saved if we implemented a program that required athletes found guilty of drug abuse, to spend time with young high school and college hopefuls, warning them of the dangers of using performance enhancing drugs.
Legal Drug Abuse Prevention:
Lastly let’s talk a bit about the “pill poppers”. You know those people who think they cannot live without their, painkillers, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, etc. This group of individuals might just be the easiest group to help with a drug abuse prevention program. I say this because these people by and large have made themselves sick primarily by way of inadequate, nutrient-deficient diets. The old adage, “You are what you eat” is so true. Eating chemically processed foods and trans fatty fast foods is beginning to take its toll on the American society and many other cultures around the world.
The lack of readily available good wholesome nutritional foods is what causes many of the ailments that lead to loss of sleep, muscle tension, hyper activity, and other conditions that have individuals seeking drug relief from their physicians to fight these ills.
Fix the food nutrition problem in this country and you just may find another answer to effective drug abuse prevention for a number of pill poppers.