Drugs and the Internet
Since the early 1990s, club drugs like Ecstasy, GHB and Ketamine have become more popular with American teens. Also, since the early 1990s, the Internet has arrived and exploded, providing open forums on any topic imaginable. A study published in Pediatrics by Dr. Paul M. Wax of the Department of Medical Toxicology at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix speculates that the rise of Web sites and online forums that claim to give information on "safe" and "responsible" drug use may be partly to blame for the growing acceptance of club drugs by young people.
Wax's study includes the stories of young people whose drug abuse was directly influenced by what they found on the Internet. In one case, a 14-year-old girl swallowed eight Coricidan tablets before going to school and was taken to the hospital after she tried to climb the school walls. When asked why she took the pills, she said she wanted to get high, and took the amount of Coricidan recommended on a drug Web site.
Surfing the Net, your kids can find elaborately designed Web sites that are packed with information on a variety of drugs, from established drugs like marijuana to some of the newer club drugs. While they appear to be an encyclopedia of facts about different drugs, these sites are filled with information like recommended dosage, how the drug will make you feel, and what to do if you get caught while high on a particular drug.
Dr. Wax's study suggests that if your teen is good at surfing the Web, he or she may be more vulnerable to these appealing sites that claim to have the facts on drugs.
Talk to your kids about the Web sites they visit when they are online. If they are searching online for information about drugs, point them to sites like http://www.freevibe.com and http://www.clubdrugs.org that are run by credible organizations that don't advocate that it is OK to take drugs as long as it is done "safely."
The publication "Keeping Your Kids Drug-Free: A How-To Guide for Parents and Caregivers" discusses challenges parents face, how parents can influence their kids, opportunities for starting a discussion and what parents can do and say to keep their children drug-free. It also provides a list of resources for parents and ways for them to get involved in community activities.
Contact the HELP Committee and Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line at 265-6206 for a free publication on talking to your kids about drugs.