Is your kid on drugs? Time to Act classes to teach parents to talk to kids about drugs, alcohol

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What do you do if you suspect your kid is on drugs? A) Fry an egg in a pan and say, "This is your brain on drugs." B) Make him watch the E! True Hollywood Story of Lindsay Lohan. C) Attend a Time to Act Community Program. The first two won't win you Mom or Dad of the Year. But the third, sponsored by the Denver Office of Drug Strategy, is a good bet.

The Time to Act Community Programs are an offshoot of the Time to Act website, which is sponsored by The Partnership at (the same folks who brought you those egg-frying commercials in the '80s). The classes are designed for parents who suspect, or know, their child is doing drugs or drinking alcohol -- or parents who worry their child might one day do those things. The program's message? Talk to your kids as soon as you think there might be a problem.

"Time to Act leads parents and caring adults through what do you do and how do you respond if you think your child is using drugs or if you know your child is using drugs?" says Vanessa Fenley, director of the Denver Office of Drug Strategy.

Thanks to a grant from the Daniels Fund, the program will be offered with the help of several organizations, including the Lowry Family Center, the Denver Human Services Fatherhood Initiative and the Colorado Alliance for Drug Endangered Children. Anyone is welcome to attend the one-time class, Fenley says.

If you can't make it to a class, check out the Time to Act website. It's easy to use and packed full of tips, infographics and videos. Not sure where to look for your kid's drug stash? This website will point you in the right direction. Nervous about starting the conversation? There's a video to talk you through it.

It's bound to be more effective than frying an egg.

For more information on when and where the classes will be held, as well as statistics on drug use in Denver, contact the Denver Office of Drug Strategy.

More from our Things to Do archive, "Same-sex marriage ban forces twelve-year-old girl into pillow fight: Kenny Be's involved."

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The Partnership for a Drug-Free America cannot be trusted. It's a well known fact that up until the late 1990s they took money from alcohol and tobacco corporations to fund their over-the-top anti-marijuana propaganda, and they still to this day take money from the pharmaceutical corporations. Even the name of this group is a joke -- "drug-free America"? Who are they kidding? There has never been, nor will there ever be a "drug-free" America. Nor does anyone actually want that. Not even the fictional Mayberry was drug-free.


Part of the problem here is a semantic one, relating to the implied distinction between "drugs" and "alcohol"; alcohol is a drug (AND TOBACCO IS A DRUG, TOO).

Kids have had ready access to cannabis from their peers for a long time -- kids "on drugs" are mostly cannabis-users. While some use may benefit some kids, I believe that it is conceded that cannabis generally does not aid study or the commitment of facts to memory. The prohibitionists wring their hands about kids' use of cannabis, but they perpetuate a black market in which kids have free access. Regulation in a legal market could help limit teens' access to cannabis. Parents are unlikely to be able to do more than moderate such use in any event. In terms of threats to health posed by all drugs to teens, as for adults, addiction to tobacco is the greatest threat (though alcohol is proportionately more dangerous than for adults).

The problem with these supposed internet resources (other than the fact that they are aimed at parents with an IQ of about 80) is that they are based on patently false premises. The "Intervention Guide" at the "Time to Act" website is typical in assuming that tobacco is not a drug, and so the misGuide simply ignores the greatest threat posed by any drug to teens' health. The misGuide also assumes that alcohol is not a drug -- the focus is mostly on cannabis and other illict drugs, which serves again implicitly to misrepresent the relative threat posed by alcohol versus cannabis. Helpful suggestions on how to search for contraband are included.

Since parents generally are unable and unwilling to exercise the degree of supervision necessary to prevent their children from obtaining and using drugs, this effort really amounts to little more than a sales pitch for the industry which has sprung up to assuage parents' guilt. The 'addictions specialists' have incomes to earn, and their sales brochures reflect what sells: society fails to understand the hard actuarial truth of the relative risks posed by teens' use of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs, in fact, it inverts them, so the drug which is easiest to detect but kills no one looms large on their scale of threats and in their advertising, while acquiring the addiction to the drug which kills 435,000 Americans every year is deemed not even worth mentioning. If we had rational concerns for teens' health, the interventions being discussed would relate mostly to isolating teens from access to tobacco.

Melanie, you can (and have) done much better.

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