On-line drug trafficking made the headlines this week when the Federal government shut down a massive website, called Silk Road, devoted to the illegal trade of drugs. The PBS report explains how this website was the largest and most sophisticated bazaar for trading illicit goods ever. Silk Road made it possible to conduct drug deals on-line in a very clandestine way, relying upon Tor encryption methods, providing members of the network with guides to avoid detection and relied upon a digital currency called, “Bitcoin” which is also difficult to track.
On the home front, cyber communications presents a similar challenge for parenting, in that it is very easy for kids to engage in risky activities involving illicit substances and exploitative connections via texting and social media. And while it would be wonderful if we could simply set parental controls to prevent access to risky things, the new reality for parenting today is that we have to bond with youth in ways that reinforce our compassion for, and instruct them about how to defend, their personal liberty; to be free from addiction and exploitation.
The best way to do this is to stay current on what is trending in their world, and not freak out. So get educated.
Last Tuesday, professionals from law enforcement, probation, education, counseling and social services convened at the Granite Bay Country Club in Granite Bay to learn about current drug trends and youth, hosted by Therapeutic Solutions 360 in Roseville, and co-sponsored by CRC Health Group.
One of the forum attendees, Lieutenant Merve Screeton, with the Roseville Police Department explains how easy it is for kids to access drugs on-line. “Pull out your smart phones and go to ‘Craigs list’, and search under ‘tinafire’, and you will find all kinds of offers for meth,” he said.
Jon Daily, Clinical Directory at Recovery Happens and Co-Director at Therapeutic Solutions 360, encourages parents to understand that drug and alcohol addiction is a disease that is about having a pathological relationship to intoxication.
“Right now, marijuana is the number one drug putting kids into treatment,” Daily said. “And because marijuana is considered more acceptable by parents and society, kids are not getting the help they need when they are caught using it. And by the same token, the THC levels of marijuana today are significantly higher, making addiction more likely. And by the time they are in treatment for addiction, there are serious withdrawal symptoms to deal with including anxiety and weight loss.”
So according to Daily, it is important that we do not hyper-focus on any one particular drug, because if your child had decided that getting high is the top priority, they will seek out alternative drugs to achieve the altered state. In other words, getting rid of the drug will not make your child stay clean. Keeping kids off of drugs is about the youth making the decision that getting high is not more important than other things including family relationships, friendships and school.
Dr. Angela Chanter, Co-Director of Therapeutic Solutions 360, cautions parents to be active listeners and get really interested in their children’s interests and experiences without jumping to conclusions. “During adolescence, kids are experimenting and identifying with different trends, including fashion. They will be flexible, and so it is important that you understand if your child is bonding in a 'friend-culture' of getting high, or simply being expressive,” she said.
To learn more about adolescent and young adult addiction, check out Jon Daily’s book: Adolescent and young adult addiction
To learn more about how to communicate with your child about the safe and responsible use of texting and social media, go to: A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media.
- Banana Moments: Help for parenting in the social network
- Teaching teens about safe use of texting and social media
- Therapeutic Solutions 360
- Recovery Happens
- CRC Health Group
- CyberParenting Topics on The Fish 103.9FM
- Follow Joanna @CyberParenting
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