On January 17th, the Orange County, California chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society held a luncheon with speaker E. Michael Valenzuela, III, the Recovery Programs Coordinator at Benchmark Transitions. His topic was “What’s Going Down in the High School Halls?”
Mr. Valenzuela shared that there is a positive trend currently; alcohol and cigarette use is decreasing. However, illicit drug use is up in recent years. Even more troubling is that the perceived risk of drug use has decreased. That means that young people see substance abuse as less dangerous than in the past.
Mr. Valenzuela stated that research shows that in the 30 days prior to surveying, 25% of high school seniors had used illicit drugs, 18% of 10th graders and 7% of 8th graders. Yes, even 8th graders. The average age a child starts abusing alcohol, nicotine or marijuana is 14.
As mothers, are we taking the time to educate ourselves on what our children face outside of our homes? Ask yourselves, do you know your children’s friends? Do you know where your children congregate? Is it at a specific home? Do you know the atmosphere of that home and the family that lives there?
Those in attendance at the luncheon were taught that if our children reach the age of 21 without trying alcohol, drugs or nicotine, the odds are good that they will never have a chemical dependency problem.
We can teach our children to make good decisions. But, we must remain vigilant in ensuring they do not abuse these damaging substances. We must take time from our busy lives to be well informed and aware. Do not be a parent that thinks, “My child wouldn’t do that!”