Teen drug abuse is rampant say cops, counselors Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Jun 3, 2011 at 4:15 am
It could happen to your child and your family. That was the message Tuesday morning at a Hart Middle School meeting to discuss drug abuse by students. Parents and teachers seemed shocked at what some Hart Middle School students said.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 2, 2011, 4:55 PM
Posted by Joe, a resident of the Siena neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 8:27 am
This is a very good article. Usually when this type of piece is written, it is full of false claims and statistics because the reporter has no idea what these drugs are, how they are used, and how they are abused. But this piece is right on target---great job in researching and reporting correctly!
Unfortunately, I have experience in this area. For you parents out there who think that your child is golden and would "never do such a thing", you need to wake up and understand that yes, your child could very well be doing these things behind your back. As the article correctly states, a person can be a high achiever--both academically and physically--and still be a drug addict. You have to wipe your mind clear of what YOUR impression of a drug addict is. It is not like you see on TV, where it's a person in their 20's, living in the inner city, shooting up with a dirty needle in the dark alley of a high rise building. Your image is WRONG. What you need to picture is an 8th grade kid, after school, handing over cash to the dealer (another kid) and getting pills. This is the reality of things. Please pay attention and do your job as a parent. Obviously, this is not happening. Look again at the statistics cited in the article above. You will be saving their life if you intervene.
Posted by baseballmom, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 9:25 am
The women from Mothers With A Purpose should be commended on their courage and their strength. In their mission to help others avoid the pain they live with every single day, they have chosen to bravely come forward to share their stories. Not easy in a city like Pleasanton. Also, Kudos to the administration and staff Hearst Elementary and Hart Middle School for their efforts in getting this information out to their communities. Finally, Officer Ryan…YOU ROCK! Keep up the good work everyone!
Posted by Shawn, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 9:26 am
This is nothing new. I grew up in Pleasanton and attended Amador H.S. When I was a student kids were snorting drugs off their desk tops in the back of class. You could get any drug you wanted at the smoke area during lunch or at the old Round table next door.
I would sit in class and watch kids take LSD and pain killers and teachers would not even notice or care. I won't go in to what happened under the bleachers or in the locker room.
I know some of the people reading this and I know you went to school with me and saw this for yourself so why the big surprise that your kids are doing this now? By the way I saw kids get arrested, kicked out of school and do drugs in the bathroom when I was at Harvest Park.
Posted by never a user, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 9:47 am
I see the parents in this town giving their kids cars, expensive clothes, iphones and money. These entitled kids are given anything they want with no strings attached. What are the parents doing? Driving around town in their SUVs to the weekly manicures, the botox salon, the dinners out, whatever -- but not paying attention to what their spoiled kids are up to. Sorry parents, when your kid becomes an addict I have no sympathy for you, where were you when it happened? A kid does not become an addict over night, these parents have a lifetime to do the right thing and they don't.
I can honestly say that I have never, ever, used any illegal substance in my life. Not for lack of opportunity but out of the clear understanding of what my parents would have done to me. The rule was that one offense -- ONE -- would result in me being sent to fully locked down school until the time I was of legal age to leave. I would NEVER be allowed back in the house again. The result was that I never smoked, snorted or hung out with people who did. Lonely? Yeah, sometimes. But when my dream job came along with a required polygraph I passed. One question was have you EVER (not do you now) used any illegal substance, including marijuana?
Pleasanton parents you need to stop being so self-involved and status seeking and start making a few rules for your kids. The rest of us do not want to be stuck cleaning up the mess you create by failing to raise them right.
Posted by art lover, a resident of the Birdland neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm
My daughter says tons of Amador students use marijuna IN SCHOOL....and yet there is a police car parked in front of school every day. What gives?
PLEASE! look at this video: From Drugs to Mugs- the horrifying look at what a pretty person goes to looking like in just 3 short months on meth. Cough syrup, pot, all paths to looking like the gruesome looking addicts - please make your kids (they recommend 13 years and up- but I say EARLIER if since is happening in Middle School) watch this! Dont' wait for the school or police to make the move. Parents need to get on this PRONTO!
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Vineyard Avenue neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm
Pleasanton Parent.. you are most likely who "Never a user" is refering to!!!!!!!!! People like you who tend to brush it off and talk about someone who is speaking the truth is more than likely a Parent either supplying the drugs/alcohol OR looking the other way!! It IS the parents responsibilty to teach their kids right from wrong and giving them EVERYTHING Under the Sun when the kids do not WORK for it is contributing to thier demise!!! There are WAYYYYY Too many parents in Pleasanton contributing to the Drug and Alcohol problem with these teens... YOUR NOT YOUR KIDS BEST FRIEND!!! YOUR THEIR PARENT!!! Start parenting your kids and STOP trying to Dress like them and act like them!!
To Never a User.. your comment was RIGHT ON!! and Good for you!!
Posted by Pretty Unfortunate, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm
This is all very sad. As someone who has successfully navigated the Pleasanton school system, it pains me to see how little the parents understand.
The fact is if you wish to stop the use of these horrible drugs such as oxy and heroine, you must first recognize your own misconceptions about marijuana and alcohol and how they end up affecting your children.
Kids growing up are learning from a combination of what they are told, and what they experience. When you group marijuana and alcohol with these drugs, and discourage their use in the same way, you effectively CREATE the "gateway drug" idea.
When little johnny puffs on a joint and realizes that he won't go crazy and jump off the roof, but simply watch the lord of the rings, giggle uncontrollably with his friends, and eat gummi worms, he then also learns that his parents and school system were lying to him. At this point, how is he able to distinguish the lies about marijuana from the truths he was told about harder drugs like oxy? Unfortunately at this point he will question everything the system has taught him, and it is now up to him to figure it out. What is even more unfortunate, when he goes to try these other drugs, it only takes 1 time to start a heavy habit.
I am not advocating letting your kids smoke, in fact I believe it is all too easy to become caught up in it, and find yourself becoming less productive.
The truth is you must start being honest with yourselves, before you can even begin to come close to getting through to your kids. I really do hope to see some progress on this matter, as Pleasanton means a lot to me, but on this current path, well, best of luck to you all.
Posted by Barry, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm
Treatment is readily available for anyone who may need it.
The negative "side effects" of marijuana, oxy, and meth can be google searched. My advice is to print them out and go over them with your teen or any other family member.
And don't forget alcohol is the #1 gateway drug and takes more lives than most other things (Except Tobacco)...
Research the effects of drugs and alcohol on the developing minds and bodies of people under 25. It effects the part of the brain that controls judgment and risk taking. Those parts of the brain may never develop correctly.
The only way to know for sure if somebody is using drugs/alcohol is to drug test the individual. Axis Behavioral Health and other facilities in Pleasanton/Livermore are ready to help.
Parents with children under 18 have a lot more power to mandate drug testing. Once a child turns 18, they are an adult and will have final say.
If you suspect your child is abusing drugs, get them assessed immediately! Most Health Insurance will cover this. Drug use is usually a symptom of much larger emotional or psychological issues.
Alanon is the best place to get support and to learn about the disease of Co-Dependency and the "Tough Love" techniques needed for parents and other family members to make some sense of this dilemna.
Most drug abusers/addicts are very intelligent and will look closely at the unwanted "side effects" of the popular drugs. They may say "I'm different" but they will see something that rings a bell.
Marijuana is the most popular drug these days and the serious side effects are not well known or brushed aside.
Posted by Another Pleasanton Parent, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 3:25 pm
"Never a user" you hit the nail on the head! We raised two children in the Pleasanton schools who graduated from Amador(2002 & 2006). We spent LOTS of time with our kids and their friends. It is amazing what you will hear when driving kids to sports or functions, on vacations or hanging on the boat with them and their friends. Never think NOT MY KID because you could be wrong! Our kids knew that they would suffer the consequences of their actions and we weren't kidding and they knew it. Too many kids in this town are spoiled brats with parents that like to indulged them and just want to be their friend. Wake up! We could afford to give our kids anything they wanted but choose not to and chose to be their PARENT not their best friend. Today our kids are two very well adjusted adults with good jobs that totally support themselves. Even at this stage that could all change tomorrow it they got in with the wrong crowd and were not able to stand by their morals!
Posted by Pretty Unfortunate, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm
@Barry that is the exact dictatorship attitude I am talking about.
Sure test your kids if you need to, sure educate them on the negative outcomes associated with a lot of these drugs but you CAN NOT treat marijuana and alcohol like you treat these other drugs.
Students WILL have access to alcohol and students WILL have the opportunity to try pot. Yes they should not be consuming them, but they are not going to listen to you when you tell them that, because they will find out through experience that you lied to them about how dire the consequences of those two drugs are. It will become clear to them that these drugs are NOT THAT BAD. Heck we even tell them, "DRINKING RUINS YOUR LIFE! but you can ruin your life when you turn 21." And "Pot makes you useless! but uh, all of these successful people all over the world smoke it"
You need to have open, honest, relationships with your children so that they know you are on their team.
You can choose to ignore my suggestions and pass me off as a liberal hippie, but I am a 21 year old who navigated the school system and its drugs, and will soon graduate from a wonderful college.
Times change, and while the goals you all are attempting to reach are very positive ones, if you don't change with the times, then it is IMPOSSIBLE to achieve results.
Posted by Barry, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm
Dear Pretty Unfortunate...
It's not about the drug/alcohol abuser ALL the time. The family goes through a living hell with under-age drinking and using. Testing would be the only way to know sometimes. The Parents need to know for sure sometimes. We are not always honest and forthcoming when we drink and use.....
You are prtty ignorant of the effects of alcohol and pot on the human body and brain... They are drugs that are psycho-active and they do change physical brain chemistry. They both create an imbalance that is hard to correct, especially in young developing brains and bodies.
Since you are a college man, look up the side effects yourself. Alcohol destroys so much... Pot is under-estimated by people like you. It can take you down also....
A good friend of mine (26)was just diagnosed with developmental asthma just from smoking pot... He could barely breathe for 2 days!
Have you ever seen a man dying from alcohol poisoning? Lung cancer?
You tell them they are harmless drugs...
People are FREE to do what they want in their lives, but when they start creating havoc in other people's lives, the Co-Dependents have a RIGHT and a Parental duty to do what they can to protect themselves and their children.
Posted by never a user, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 3, 2011 at 11:31 pm
Gee Pleasanton Parent -- I am the problem and "people like you are a danger to our city."
Let's see if I can understand that. I don't use drugs, my kids don't use drugs but I am a danger to the city. Got me on that one. You must be one of the parents who supply alcohol to their kids like the famous event in Ruby Hill where the parents sat in the driveway selling tickets to the party.
What is so difficult about making some rules and setting some limits for your kids? Mine grew up before Facebook was so huge but they were never allowed to have computers in their rooms, cell phones remained in the kitchen from dinner til breakfast the next day and they were required to tell us where they were at all times. My house my rules. Worked for me, worked for them. Three productive members of society.
Posted by Pretty Unfortunate, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2011 at 12:57 pm
I think you are missing my point. I am not talking about the way in which we deal with problematic users. I am talking about the way we teach our kids about drugs, and what we set ourselves up for. I understand that both of these drugs have negative affects on the human body. My point is that when we teach kids about them, we group them all into one big category of "very bad".
Although the long term affects, and even some short term affects of alcohol and pot are bad, they simply do not compare to what happens when you begin using harder drugs such as oxy. This is not what we tell our kids though, again they are all in one big group of "very bad".
So when kids do end up experimenting, as we can all agree that they have the access to do so, and a percentage have the desire to do so, they experience the drug for themselves. And when all that happens is a little hangover for a day, or some weezy lungs for a day, the kids then spurn everything we have taught them about all of the drugs.
I'm not going to even begin to refute your statement that I am "prtty ignorant" as any well informed person knows these online threads can only get so much information across. I do however suggest you review my claims before you attempt to counter them, as it is not productive for you to refute the claim "they are harmless drugs" when in fact my post says that the drugs are harmful, just not AS harmful as other drugs. I have smoked pot and drank alcohol, and have very much informed myself on their consequences, THEY ARE NOT GOOD FOR YOUR BODY, but my main point is
When we group those two with other, more dangerous drugs, we then set ourselves up to lose all credibility when the kids find out for themselves that they are not AS BAD as we say.
We must start being honest with ourselves, life is not black and white, most things fall somewhere on a scale.
Posted by Barry, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Jun 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm
Dear Pretty Unfortunate,
Thanks for your input. I just think pot is underestimated and discounted for the potential harm it can do. Alcohol is just accepted more in our society. Your a Man if you can hold your liquor and other macho crap. It's just weed.... etc.
How can you tell when someone's use is problematic? Is it when pot and alcohol just don't give them the kick they need and they go to their pot dealer and ask if they have E, Meth, Oxy or Heroin? Is it when they get arrested for a DUI or maybe kill somebody? Almost EVERY illegal pot dealer is connected to the other major drugs, they are entepenuers. It's usually too late when the unfortunates get into the legal system. They throw pot and alcohol offenders in with murderers and gang bangers. Under age drinking is accepted more in this society and we pay the price for it.
When a kid experiences the high of pot, alcohol, or any drug their judgment is impaired and their opinion that hey "It's not that bad" should be discounted.
I think the focus should be on why they are using in the first place. Is it just for fun or curiosity? Or is it because life has really intense stress and people look for temporary relief?
Their is a very fine line when a person's recreational use turns into abuse then full blown addiction. It is very hard to keep track of the progression.
Hopefully, people will get more and more useful information on this problem and look for the help they need.
Pop quiz hot shot! Reply with 5 major side effects of pot. The research out there is good and trust worthy.
Posted by Supportive mom with non-users - yet, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2011 at 11:50 am
Hey "Never a user" and "Mary"...Good for you. Stand up and take a bow. Oh, and by the way, I have some leaves floating in the middle of my pool that neither my skimmer nor my pool boy can get to. Perhaps either one or both of you can come by my home and get them? You do walk on water don't you?
Posted by Nancy, a resident of another community, on Jun 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm
Right on "mom with non-users-yet" Ignore the arogant, judemental, cruel people out there. Wish we had a grouip like you in our communiy. Thanks for speaking up, you are a brave group and should be proud!
Posted by George, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Jun 5, 2011 at 10:51 pm
I hope the community takes this issue very seriously. The issue is becoming more prevalent in too many Bay Area cities and we should all look for ways to provide the education, resources, and innovative approach that can stem the epidemic. The Office of the President, FDA, CDC, and DEA introduced “Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis” findings on April 19th of this year. Four primary components: Education, Tracking and Monitoring, Proper Medication Disposal, and Enforcement summarize their approach. See the following link for the full report. Web Link
Locally, too many lives have been ruined. Too many suicides, too many young lives derailed by hard drugs. Talk to any drug rehabilitation professional and they’ll tell you the number of young people entering their facilities, with Oxycontin addiction is staggering. Ask any college student what percent of the student body is taking Adderall to help them prepare for finals. I’m disturbed by the early age and prevalence of marijuana use. Marijuana, while not harmful to some, is very harmful to others, and can cause or contribute to paranoia, depression, and apathy. Six week ago, I attended a presentation, where the speaker mentioned a recent client, who had committed suicide. A contributing factor was his addiction to Marijuana. Of course, the same can be said for Heroin, Meth, Oxy, Alcohol, and a number of other abused substances. It’s not the drug, but the user, who chooses to continue his or her path toward destruction.
Addiction is a disease and requires treatment and a life long commitment of abstinence and recovery. If an addict is lucky enough to gain traction and stability, the hard work just begins: continued outpatient treatment, AA or NA meetings several times per week, 12 step work with a sponsor, and never ever picking up alcohol or any illegal or prescription drug again, period. The Bay Area has a huge recovery population. San Francisco hosted an 18-25 year old recovery convention, with attendance in excess of 4000. There are some very intelligent, successful, and fully committed individuals who participate. There are several high level CEO’s that hire sober coaches to guide them through difficult periods of negotiation. Addiction has no geographic, demographic, or socioeconomic boundaries.
I raised three children in Pleasanton. My wife stayed at home and provided rides to and from school, made sure our children participated in baseball, soccer, and basketball, made sure school work was done and made sure our children were well behaved. Our family vacations were a blast, we spent weekends playing golf together, and ended every weekend with a family dinner on Sunday. Well into their teens, many parents commented on what great kids they were. We were very proud parents. Two of our children are what some would say are “perfect kids”, although I think that is an exaggeration. They’re just good kids, on track to be productive members of society. We got lucky. Our third child is a drug addict. What went wrong?
Our addict was raised in the same house, same environment, and same way as the others. What was the difference? What went wrong? Believe me, I don’t have the answers. Some kids are more prone than others; more risk taking, less confident in themselves, less able to cope with life on life’s terms. Raising kids is one challenge, but dealing with a child in active addition is something totally surreal. The family is taken down a very dangerous road and as hard as the addict has to work on their addiction, the family also needs to work on their own compulsion to the addict’s addiction. To understand, you have to have been there.
Thank you for indulging me and letting me ramble on. I’d like to close by saying that this article is one of the best I’ve ever read and that the points are right on. Ninety percent of the comments also seem reasonable. The collaboration of the Police, the Schools, the Counselors, and Community is right on track. It’s hard to fix this situation, but we can certainly all work toward mitigating the impact it has on our children and community. Remember, we are all involved and impacted by this issue. It’s an individual, Family, and Community problem. We all need to be part of the solution and be less concerned about who’s right and who the best parent is. Most parents do the best they can with what they have and love their children more than life itself.
Posted by No Judgment Here, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 6, 2011 at 11:48 am
If just one family is suffering in our community, or one child is lost, don’t we all have a choice of how we respond? I recall this quote from NFL great, Rod Woodson’s (who lives and has a family in our community) Hall of Fame induction speech:
“God has given us a gift to choose. It's a power that we normally don't talk about. I leave you today with these thoughts. Choose. Choose to love rather than hate. Choose to create rather than to destroy. Choose to persevere rather than quit. Choose to praise rather than gossip. Choose to heal rather than wound. Choose to pray, rather than curse. Choose to live, rather than die”
So for all of you who have been lucky enough to avoid the pain families such as George from Ruby Hill and many, many others in our community have endured, I would ask you to take some advice from Mr. Woodson. Choose. Choose compassion rather than judgment.
Posted by Pretty Unfortunate, a resident of the Amador Estates neighborhood, on Jun 15, 2011 at 1:02 am
Sorry I never responded, I guess I just gave up because you guys keep pounding the same thing into my brain, and that is that you do not understand my point. Here goes one last try...
You can rattle off an entire list of negative health/social/familial consequences of marijuana and I will continue to sit here and say, sure thing, you hit it right on. The plain and simple fact though, is that it is
as other, harder, more addictive and unhealthy drugs. Key word "AS". We do not admit this to ourselves, hence we do not admit this to our kids, hence they do not listen to us when we tell them how to deal with drugs, because we lie to them.
Hopefully this time I was a little more straightforward.
Posted by Mary, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Jun 16, 2011 at 12:21 am
Pretty Unfortunate- many of us get what you were saying...it actually prompted me to have a very frank discussion with my son - telling him the truth about the differences between drugs. Your point made a difference to us that night- it opened up a new level of communication and connectedness between us. I can only hope I never have to go through what George has, and I offer support rather than judgment.
Posted by George, a resident of the Ruby Hill neighborhood, on Jun 16, 2011 at 10:33 pm
Hey Pretty unfortunate, you sound pretty fortunate. and fairly rational. I have mixed emotions about marijuana use in general. For some, if provides a better (different might be a better word) perspective on life. For others it creates or exacerbates emotional issues. Is Marijuana better than Alcohol? It's definitely not as dangerous as other hard drugs. I would suggest not telling a teenager that marijuana is ok, but stay away from other drugs because they are really bad. Marijuana, like alcohol effects judgment. If someone is high on pot, they are more prone to try something else (judgment lapse).
It looks like your comment about communication has helped someone open up the topic with their child. Got to give you props for that. Just talking about this issue will help others.
At 21, I think you sound like a good kid (I mean adult) working toward something positive. At 21, most of my childhood friends were into partying big time, as was I. Most moved on after several years and are now very successful people. A lot are still stuck where they were 30 years ago, still smoking pot everyday, and hoping life gets better or just don't care. No judgment here, but life can be so much more. Get it out of your system and move on the a more meaningful, more fulfilling life, however you want to define it. You may understand better when you have kids of your own and they get caught at middle school with a joint and tell the principal that he stole it out of his dads drawer. What then. Still cool?