Drugs education should start in the home
It is already too late when parents of a young man with great promise discover the lifeless body of their son in bath tub after he experimented with a legal substance, still being sold in the United States and other countries, as a substitute for marijuana.
With an almost out of control illegal drug culture expanding in many countries, including Bermuda, every parent needs to be well educated on the dangers of seeking a high in the shadows, often because of peer pressure.
Many have died over the years, mainly in large countries, from mixing and inhaling legal substances for what they thought was simply going to be a high outside of the law. Remember, it maybe popular, but that does not make it right. With marijuana still illegal in many countries including Bermuda, a number of companies in the US came up with synthetic marijuana which is actually marijuana heavily enhanced with chemicals, to a point where it is no longer under drug laws.
This substance currently being sold in a number of stores throughout the United States is marketed in colourful packages that give the appearance it is harmless. The synthetic drug issue is getting renewed attention since at least two deaths in Atlanta have been attributed to this product. According to reports, the potentially lethal product is manufactured in China, where they are careful to ensure it is not in violation of existing drug laws. Obviously not an easy problem to solve.
Thus the role of the parent or guardian at an early stage becomes vital in educating a young mind about dangers to be aware of in a world awash with deadly distractions aimed at superficial happiness. It would seem these days doing the right thing is unpopular. However a lack of proper information could easily result in a fatal error of judgment. This means modern day parents should strive for better communication with their offspring to avoid leaving the door open for negative influences.
Some will argue that it is no ones business what a person chooses to put into their bodies. One might have that right, but it would be idiotic to brush aside serious warnings from health officials just to prove a point. Others might take the view that if small amounts of marijuana were decriminalised the temptation to use a substitute would not be there.
That issue is still up for debate. The important factor here is that if a young person can be persuaded to avoid any product known to be harmful to the body and the mind, no effort should be spared in doing so. The same holds true for alcohol consumption which of course is legal.
The impact of illegal drugs to the core of community life is far reaching and people, young and old, who rely on some type of fix to make it through the day can be a burden to not only to their families, but to the entire community when things go wrong.
The new Government has taken a bold step in instituting random drug tests for all under their banner. At least this leads the way in making it clear that zero tolerance for illegal drug use will be a part of their operating policy. The illegal drug world cannot be taken lightly because suppliers are constantly seeking new ways to keep their deadly business alive.
The only real solution is having children taught very early how damaging the practice is and how many lives are destroyed because of poor decisions that carry deadly consequences. This is not a battle that will be won overnight. But if too many in our small Island remain silent on the issue of illegal drugs because it is unpopular to discuss we could lose many young people who otherwise would have been productive citizens.
This is not a time to play games over illegal drug use and proper values for building sound productive citizens. Too much is at stake to pretend the problem is not critical. Everyone is at risk when an addict becomes desperate. In fact, the addict is also in danger especially if they choose a deadly substitute in seeking relief. Bermuda must keep its guard up against any type of illegal drugs if the yet unborn are to be protected. Education could play a key role and it should start in the home.
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