It is common to hear teens and youths ask themselves “Are you high?” to show displeasure at what a friend had said or done. This statement means among other things “Are you okay?” “Do you know what you are doing?” This might not literally mean the person being addressed is actually under any influence but they say this because his words or behaviour depicts someone who is not in the right frame of mind.
This got me wondering; if they know that drug makes one behave out of place, why do children abuse drugs? Why is drug addiction gradually becoming pandemic in our society? Why are many parents in denial until it gets out of hand?
The craving to get “HIGH” is a culture that is transferred to our youths mostly by entertainers particularly music stars. They see these musicians as role models and tend to want to behave like them. These musicians don’t help matters by singing praises of drugs and publicly showcasing drug abuse in their videos. Some even ascribe their performance to being high on substances.
The genesis of drug abuse is usually by taking energy drinks and cigarettes at parties, with friends telling them it is not harmful. They then graduate to drinks with little percentage of alcohol. Some start with common off the shelf drugs like codeine (especially the one in cough syrups), tramadol, and even sniffing substances like gum while others go straight to drugs like cocaine, heroine etc.
They have different names for these drugs like TM, Kush, fish, grass, powder, crack, monkey tail etc.
When a child is threading this road, there is this sudden feeling of “I am in charge, I can take care of myself.” The child, most times suddenly becomes withdrawn and secretive. He becomes more conscious about his privacy. Sometimes, they don’t want to come close to you as their parents (so you don’t perceive anything). Some of them may become temperamental or suddenly too gentle.
As a parent, one of the greatest mistake you can make in this situation is to be in denial. “Oh! I don’t want to believe it.” Once you suspect anything, confront your fears. Do your investigations carefully. Do not quarrel with the child or be antagonistic. He/she needs all the love and understanding you can give at this time. It is not a time for condemnation (you should have done that earlier). Let the child know the implication of drug abuse, where his situation will end him, there is new life after “chilling out” and that you are willing to help him walk out of it. (It is not an easy task though). It is important to let every member of the family know he needs a lot of love at this time and to cooperate accordingly.
And for the youths, it is better not to try out that substance at all. Believe in yourself and the strength you can draw from God. Without mincing words, I will tell you, Drug abuse is a “package” from the devil and of course, you know that guy ain’t got no good gift. It is low self esteem that makes you want to be high. There are so many greats in you. All you need to do is harness them. Greatness is in you, and confidence will bring them out. NOT drugs.
She is the founder of Cassandra's Diary, a forum for trashing out issues in families.
Married to Dele, they are blessed with 3 children, Temi, Tolu and Alexandra.
In summary, my team and I, we are counselors and public speakers with a passion to raise model families.