Street Drugs and Mental Health
By: Beth McHugh 2007
Parents of teenagers often worry about their children becoming involved with drugs, and rightly so. Statistics show that, by the age of 20, the majority of young adults have either tried drugs on one or two occasions, take them on a regular basis, abuse drugs or are addicted to them.
Knowledge is a valuable tool in a parent’s arsenal against drugs, as is knowing how to talk to your pre-teen and teenager about drugs. Just saying “no” to drugs isn’t always the best approach for a parent to take. Yet talking to your child about illegal drugs can be both daunting and difficult, especially if you have no experience of drug-taking yourself. A parent in that situation can lack credibility simply because they haven’t tried drugs themselves and the teenager quite naturally thinks your words sound more than a bit hollow when you simply say “Don’t!”.
It can be easier if you as a parent have experienced and seen first hand the down side of drug-taking, although of course the canny teen will often use that experience against you. However, whether or not you have had a personal encounter with illegal drugs, knowledge is still power. Hence I will be writing a series of article on the most common drugs your children will be confronted with, their common side effects, the attraction of them to users and, most importantly, how to talk to your teen without making them take a defensive attitude (one of life’s difficult tasks but it can be achieved!)
Over the coming weeks, we will be looking at ecstasy, hallucinogens,
heroin, marijuana, benzodiazepines, speed, cocaine, ice, and other street
drugs. For each drug, topics such as immediate versus long-term effects,
tolerance, dependence, withdrawal, and overdose will be discussed in
order to give you, the parent, a better perspective on dealing with
drugs in the life of your child.