MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (8/22/13) – In week 6 of an ongoing series of informative meth-related articles supplied by Muhlenberg County Sheriff Curtis McGehee, the topic for discussion is the importance of just saying no for local children.
For years we have been telling our children to just say no when it comes to illegal drug use. While it is very important to relay that message to our children, we must realize that it is not always that simple. When a child is in a high pressure situation it can be very difficult for them to say no.
Peer pressure can be powerful, especially in the life of a child or teenager.
When a child feels isolated, embarrassed or left out for any reason the natural response is to make adjustments so that he/she feels more accepted. It is at times like this when the child becomes most vulnerable.
Meth is a hard hitting drug. As previously reported there is no drug that seems to impact the user as methamphetamine does. I will not elaborate here, I have done that in other articles but I will mention that one time use means addiction for virtually any user. Because meth is highly addictive and because most people addicted to meth struggle to overcome the addiction; we must relate the importance of saying no to our children. We must not only encourage them to say no, but we must teach them that they have to say no and mean it; they must do so with the greatest of determination.
How can we equip our children so that they are prepared to respond for high pressure situations? For starters, we must educate our children in the area of illegal drug use. For example, every child needs to know that most drug users that are addicted to the most dangerous drugs, stair-stepped to that position. They used what are often known as gateway drugs. Gateway drugs for children and teenagers may include but would not be limited to: alcohol, tobacco, inhalants, and marijuana. Often a child believes that because a drug is common, or maybe even legal for an adult than it must not be such a bad choice for a child. I encourage the community to make children/youth aware that many people who begin using gateway drugs at an early age, often escalate to more serious drug use.
It may also prove helpful to educate children of the consequences of illegal drug use. There are legal consequences; most meth related offences carry stiff penalties. There is also health risks associated with drug use, 90% of meth users are dead, brain damaged or incarcerated within five years of usage.
Additionally, criminal charges can scar ones record making it very difficult to secure gainful employment.
It is also important for responsible adults to remember that addiction means that people will go to extremes to get money for the drug. For this reason, some pushers will even encourage children to use the drug. Lately we have been hearing about flavored meth. The strawberry flavor seems to be gaining popularity in some parts of the country. A drug pusher knows that it may be difficult to get a child to inject or smoke a drug, but not as difficult to get a child to taste it. Meth is bitter and is not usually ingested orally; the strawberry flavor may make it more appealing to people, including children.
It is also possible that a pusher might attempt to slip the drug into a food or drink. Because of this possibility, children should be encouraged to never leave their food or drink unattended.
In closing, parents, guardians and concerned adults should make children aware of the fact that not everyone is trustworthy. We should reiterate that anyone, regardless of their relationship to the child that offers them meth is not to be trusted, but should be reported to law enforcement as soon as possible.
You may report illegal drug use in Muhlenberg County by calling Central Dispatch at 338-2000, to remain anonymous call 1-888-9ky-tips or go online and report drug activity at www.muhlenbergcountysheriff.com.
Click Here to read the part 5 in this series.
Information provided by Sheriff Curtis McGehee
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