Don't be left in the dark

I lead a parent support group on Wednesday nights and after doing this for almost ten years, I still never get tired of going. These meetings are one of the most important steps in dealing with addiction. The parents that attend, are some of the finest people I have ever been associated with. The heartache they have gone through and continue to go through is enough to make the toughest person weep. We have parents from all walks of life and they all have one thing in common; Loved ones who are drug addicts. The support they provide to one another is amazing. We have parents that have been attending for eight years and longer. Some of their loved ones are clean and sober and some are not, but they continue to come to provide hope, healing and education to the new folks that are there.

A few weeks ago, someone mentioned a comment that was made on Facebook. The comment was made by a woman, who’s child brought home a notice from a local Clovis school about opioid addiction. The notice mentioned awareness and the fact that parents should be aware of the opioid crises and take steps to protect their children. I’m thrilled Clovis Unified sent this home. It’s about time. We are working with students from Clovis Unified in the Law and Policy Lab at CART, the Center for Advanced Research & Technology. These students not only recognize the enormity of the drug problem on their Clovis campuses, they are actually doing something about it. They have partnered with us, PAIN, and have developed a web site to help those students dealing with abuse and addiction and a have created a source to help parents understand the problem and where to get help for their children. I am proud to be associated with these kids, they are amazing!

Back to the comment on Facebook. There was a woman who stated she was appalled that the school would send this home and that the school was just putting “drug thoughts” in the student’s heads. Excuse me lady, but you are part of the problem. Don’t you read? Don’t you watch the news? How un-informed are you? More than likely, you and your child will be walking through my door at some point. Then the real fun begins and it’s all because you never thought your child would even consider taking drugs. Ask any of our parents if they thought their kids would take drugs. All of them would tell you they thought exactly like you! Now they will tell you, DON’T BE STUPID!

Other than cancer, addiction is the number one epidemic in Fresno, Clovis and the United States and it’s because of several different reasons. One reason is parents didn’t listen 20 years ago when this really started to become prevalent in our community. Over the course of the next few years, it grew to such proportions, that now we are in the middle of a nightmare that most won’t awake from. The second reason is, schools didn’t inform parents about the drug problem on their campuses. Next was the criminal self-serving marketing plans of the pharmaceutical companies and of course the medical communities lack of understanding on addiction.

This mom doesn’t realize that by the time these kids are seniors, it’s usually to late. These parents and kids need to start talking about drug use starting in the 6th grade. This mom doesn’t realize that 10 percent of 8th graders already smoke marijuana daily and by the 12th grade, 32.5 percent have already tried a narcotic pain killer. Oh yea, 25 percent of all high school athletes have admitted to using Norco, Vicodin or other narcotic pain killers in the past year for non-medical reasons. That means they are partying with them. I believe these numbers are higher because you need to ask yourself, what about the kids who DIDN’T admit they were using a drug in a survey from fear of being caught?

This is something to think about, a study by MTF, Monitoring the Future, showed a substantial and significant increase in vaping among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. Overall, rates of vaping are second only to alcohol among substances surveyed, with 17.6 percent of 8th graders, 32.3 percent of 10th graders, and 37.3 percent of 12 graders reported past-

year vaping. Do parents or this mom think that these kids are vaping tobacco only? Once again, DON’T BE STUPID! You can smoke pot, cocaine, heroin, meth and just about any drug through vaping.

It amazes me how so many parents hide their heads in the sand when it comes to drug use and their children. They are quick to say it’s someone else’s kid doing it, but when it comes to their kid, they are clueless. Or maybe it’s because the parent is the one smoking pot and taking other drugs.

Hey Facebook mom, wake up before one day your child doesn’t! Think about it.

Kerry Garrison