In a perfect world......
In a perfect world, because children everywhere are being exposed to drugs (starting - in some cases - in elementary school), wouldn't it be
awesome if our society, communities, schools, and parents could all be on the same page and work together to tackle this drug problem? I realize, if it we lived in one, we wouldn't need to concern ourselves with this issue but be that it may ~ I know that if we all worked together ~ things would be so much better.
Since this isn't the case, I am trying in my own little way to share with other parents what I've experienced as a parent of an adolescent with a drug problem by including things like ~ what to do if or when they find themselves in the same position.
For the last two years I've had (and will again) the opportunity to present drug education to parents of middle school age children. I am extremely passionate
about helping parents because of what I went through.... trying to figure it out on my own on what to do and where to turn
while under an unbelievable amount of stress.
That said ~ can anyone share with me how the schools have helped you get through the muddle? Due to financial cuts not many schools today have a drug
counselor on staff so there must be other ways or programs they have in place, right? If not, Dr. Bradley do you have any suggestions or know of "model"
schools who have been proactive or helpful to parents who needed support? I know of some areas who have adopted mandatory parent drug programs
but I am not aware of what the schools do once a child is involved. Any tips or ideas would certainly be appreciated.
The reason I'm asking is I was invited to speak at a conference (speaking panel - 20 minutes) and my topic is "What the Schools Can Do". I am
honored that I was asked but when I agreed, I thought I would be presenting what I normally do. That said ~ I do have some thoughts but I can only go by what I experienced at our local school. Since my son left there ~ the school now offers more services but they still need to emphasize parent education.
My experience has been that beyond the budget issue, many, perhaps most school systems fear the potentially huge political backlash of venturing into these waters since this subject crosses the line away from traditional education and into very controversial moral/ethical/religious grounds. For example: is drug addiction a brain disease or a moral failing allowed/caused by a permissive culture? Should communities respond to drug users with treatment/education or police/prison? Should the only way to fight addiction mandate the acceptance of a God? ("...turn over...our lives over to the care of God as we understand him." Step 3 of the AA 12 steps, which references God in 5 of those steps).
The best solution I've seen is for groups to sponsor outside (experts (non-staff folks to include veteran parents such as yourself) to provide drug education services since these folks can speak independently from the intense political battles that often swirl in a community.
Take care and please keep involved!
Dr. Mike Bradley