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Exposure to Substance Abuse

As addiction goes across Canada we normally see it with adults but in the majority of cases the addiction to drugs or alcohol began many years before. Whether the addiction is to street drugs, prescription drugs or alcohol the person began at some point in their life and in many cases; before their legal age.

Growing up in our present society is quite a challenge for kids. A child is surrounded by various instances of substance use, principle of these is TV advertisement, if you watch television do this simple exercise; count how many commercials are about alcohol such as beer & wine, pain medication like Tylenol, Advil or Anti-depressant medication. You will also notice in each case those promoting the substance are “smiling and living very happy” or so it appears to market the product.

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Everybody Does It!

Then there is the drink that mom and dad take on occasion, social events, summer BBQ, etc. The pressure to fit in as a child reaching the age of twelve and thirteen is quite heavy. As the child begins to reach out and attempt to express his or her individuality in the world around them they will seek what is acceptable, and what gets approval, especially from one’s peers.
Often there will be someone who will offer a thrill with a joint of pot or a pill to relax around girls, etc. In other instances the home environment is not going so well, mom and dad are arguing, or someone is very ill, etc. All manner of situations occur in life that can cause a child to seek comfort and belonging or at the very least try to find their place in the world.

 Lonely young girl.

Pot’s Appeal & Publicity

Pot is often seen to be cool; promotion of its legalization makes it even more tempting to try it. The euphoria that Marijuana creates is very desirable by a teenager seeking to fit in to some social group. 

It also is a means to cope with unwanted emotions and pains. But the initial “good feeling” soon has less effect and more of the substance is needed to achieve the same result.

Eventually the only reason to take the drug is to stay away from the side effects of stopping, which in many cases are quite unpleasant.

 Friends having fun.

Youth Drug Treatment & Self-Worth

Across Canada there exist various youth programs to help overcome these withdrawal symptoms permitting the teenager to regain some self-worth and have a place in our current society. With government funded youth programs most counselors will not have the same experience as with a private care facility counselor. Nor will your child get the one-on-one attention and group belonging he or she needs to permit them dealing with those personal feelings and emotions.

When a child is trying to express their self-determinism and express who they are, this is often met with some form of refusal by teachers, parents, peers and anyone else who is not acting on the child’s best interest. If a child is expressing himself with the use of illicit drugs or alcohol in order to be seen or heard; you can bank on the fact that stopping his or her expression has been going on for quite some time.

A Matter of Expression

The facts are simple when a child begins to wander away from the careful watching eyes of mom and dad, this is the sign of wanting to see more of the world. This is not just a child but a person exploring new adventures outside of the balcony or the backyard. That day when your 9 or 10 year old son or daughter asks to stay overnight at a friend’s house is such an expression.

The more a parent or others put up barriers and seek to stop the child’s expression of self the more they will receive in return some form of rebellion in order to be accepted and received in society. Drugs and alcohol are just one form of expression to say “look I am here, I do have a place in this world”. Ignore a child’s growth and self-worth and you condemn him or her to a life of squashed dreams and inabilities, squash it and you get a rebellious criminal.

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