By Chinedu Adonu
ENUGU – A non-governmental Organisation, Parent-Child Intervention Center, PCIC, has advised parents to educate their children about dangers inherent in drug abuse saying that it will reduce the high rate of the scourge in the society.
The Chief Executive Officer of the group, Mrs Peggy Chukwuemeka, while presenting a lecture, titled: “the role of parents/family in preventing drug and substance abuse”, said that kids who are not properly informed are at a greater risk of engaging in unsafe behaviors and experimenting with drugs.
“Just as you protect your kids against illnesses like measles, you can help “immunize” them against drug use by giving them the facts before they are in a risky situation.
“When kids don’t feel comfortable talking to parents, they’ll seek answers elsewhere, even if their sources are unreliable. And kids who aren’t properly informed are at greater risk of engaging in unsafe behaviors and experimenting with drugs.
“Parents who are educated about the effects of drug use and learn the facts can give their kids correct information and clear up any misconceptions. You’re a role models for your kids, and your views on alcohol, tobacco, and drugs can strongly influence how they think about them. So make talking about drugs a part of your general health and safety conversations.
Mrs Chukwuemeka said that the fight against drug abuse should begin with families to help discourage demand and supply of drugs to safeguarding their future.
According to her; “the fight against drug abuse should begin within families, and this is much more effective and would definitely help to discourage demand and supply. At Parent-Child Intervention centre (PCIC) we believe that if much effort is put in cutting/discouraging demand for drugs, suppliers will find the business no longer profitable and will definitely be forced to switch to other legal business ventures.
“Parental monitoring and supervision of friendships are critical for drug abuse prevention: rules setting for activities, monitoring friends and social engagements, limiting social networking, empowering reward system for appropriate behavior, consistent discipline that enforces defined family rules all reduce children’s risks and protect against pathology and substance abuse.
“Many factors at home can influence a child’s attitudes and propensity to use drugs. Among the risk factors in the home environment are psychological, physical, or sexual abuse, living with parents who abuse alcohol and other drugs, witnessing fights at home, parental neglect, parental depression or psychopathology, providing mixed messages about drugs, especially if parents use or abuse drugs, and permission for unlimited access to social networking. Each of these factors can be modified and improvements in the home environment can assist children avoid drug use.
“Teenagers who are taught the dangers of drug use at home are less likely to use drugs.
“Certainly, the entertainment world’s glorification of drugs and alcohol contributes to the curiosity in young minds that leads to experimentation. In the light of this, parents should be proactive rather than reactive in managing children’s access to materials that glorifies drug use. Deciding how to censor is a personal choice for the parents; each family has its own set of values and priorities.
“However, kids are inevitably going to get ideas about drugs from somewhere, so it is always a good idea for them to develop an understanding of the risks at home first. That way, when they meet tempting or unrealistic portrayals of drugs later on, their curiosity will be checked by their knowledge.
“In light of the familiarity kids have with the world of drugs and alcohol, they need a firm support system at home. Unless they have a solid foundation of knowledge, self-esteem, and family support, kids are more likely to experiment with the drugs in an effort to gain peer group acceptance or just appease curiosity,” she said.