Drugs: when a bickie is not a Scotch Finger
by Sacha Kaluri
There’s a myriad of drugs used at parties and venues all across Australia every night. The ones we hear about when talking with young people are Ecstasy, Marijuana and GHB.
Drugs in a young persons world can infiltrate and affect every corner of their lives. Physically – we see the health affects. Mentally – the increase in anxiety and depressive illnesses amongst our youth. Emotionally – the massive numbers of young people committing suicide. Employability – posting pictures of their escapades online, drug usage affecting their ability to hold down a job, lack of motivation and inability to work because they just can’t face the world, such is the power of the mental illnesses they are in the grips of.
As parents – we mostly hear about this in the news or current affair programs and of course they tend to show the worst-case scenarios.
So we generally just freak out.
Mostly, our kids know young people who take drugs, they probably even know people who sell them and they definitely know of someone who is struggling with drugs – yes even in their teens.
We don’t know what to do or say.
Let’s face it, when was the last time you were in a club and had to come up with a response to “you after anything mate?”
Drug takers (in a young person’s world) don’t look like the Government ads we see where the cute blonde, young thing, looks fresh faced and lovely and then cut to 6 months of drug use and their cheeks are hollow and teeth are missing.
To a young person, drug takers look like their friends, well dressed, cool, having an awesome night, made even more awesome by their drug of choice.
So what do we do?
How do we as parents, work this thing out and protect our teens from the scourge of drugs in society presently?
And we talk some more.
And we keep talking.
If they aren’t listening to us, we find a strong mentor (coach, teacher, Sensai, counselor) or family member they are bonding with and you can trust, to talk to them.
Know your stuff.
They can smell a fake a kilometre away – Google and learn. Understand what the drugs are, what they are calling them (eg bickie is short for Disco biscuit = Ecstasy), what the signs are, where to go for help and how they can say no.
Give them strategies.
If your teen is in a situation where drugs are present and they are offered, what do they say?
Give them strategies early; supply them with comeback lines to say. Rehearse them.
Be real. Tell them that it will feel good, it will heighten every sense and give them unlimited confidence, but the payoff is minuscule in comparison to the damage or potential life threat.
Who are they hanging out with?
Their social circle is much bigger than who they’re friends with at school. Drugs could be prevalent in the friends they have at their part time job or even their sporting club. That “amazing” 25-year-old new person at work, who’s dressed well, leaving quite an impression on your child, seems successful and is the last person you would suspect as being dodgy – is actually the supplier.
Conversations like these should take place anywhere and everywhere and as often as possible. You don’t need to preach, whine or set up a time – just be present and interested and bring it up casually.
This is a dinner table convo, in the car (they can’t get out) or something you’ve learned from the news, (what do you know about this thing I heard today…)
We can’t lock them in a cupboard until they’re 25 – so all we have is communication. It takes effort but it’s one of the most important things you’ll ever do as a parent.
Sacha & Sonya are holding a launch for their book, ‘The Two Worlds Of Your Teenager’ on August 13. This is a Free Event.