A mom recently told me that heroin has her scared for her child’s future and that she just has to instill over and over to say no to drugs. Yes, we need to tell our kids that but come on people… Would you have ever stuck a needle in your veins because of peer pressure? A needle full of some black tar looking crazy drug that you hear kills people all the time? It’s not like saying “come on try this beer. It will be fun.” Or “you’ll love the way you feel after smoking a joint. You’ll be all relaxed.” It’s a NEEDLE full of deadly drugs! And chances are, it’s a dirty needle. So why do so many people do it? Why is it an epidemic in Northern Kentucky?
Probably because we only teach our kids to say no to drugs. We don’t explain why, other than the stuff they don’t really understand or care about. We don’t teach our children from a young age how to cope with the everyday stress of life. We put a stigma on seeing a counselor making it as if it’s a horrible thing that only crazy people do. Our health care makes counseling extremely expensive, causing it to be a financial burden for families so they just don’t go.
Someone told me that life was hard when we were growing up and we didn’t turn to heroin. In fact heroin was the off-limits icky drug. But heroin was also extremely expensive then. The fact that it is so cheap is one of the reasons it’s so popular. You can get high for $5.
I will admit I have been to counseling many times in my adult life. I usually go to just a few sessions for a particular issue but it helps. It helps so much that I have never popped a pill or stuck a needle in my arm for fun. But I’m lucky. Part of my benefit package through work allows for free counseling through a program called Emergency Professional Assistance offered at a local hospital. I can only go eight times a year but I usually only need a session or two to work something out.
I introduced my children to counseling at a young age. I think they both realize that it is okay to ask for help. They know that sometime talking it out with someone who has no personal interest in the situation is just what they need. They know they can talk to me about anything but they also know that I am going to be emotionally involved so sometimes they will say “hey mom, I got something going on I want to talk to the counselor about. Can you make an appointment?” and that is totally fine.
My close friends, boyfriend and family members have also made it clear to the kids that they can go to them as well. Our deal is as long as the kids aren’t in danger in any way, they will keep the conversation private from me if that’s what the kids wish. Yes, it can be tempting to say “what did they say?” but I’m just relieved they are talking to someone.
I have also tried to give the kids tools to work through things themselves and not make everything a bigger deal than it is. They have to assess the situation, decide if it is something to worry about or not, come up with an action plan and go from there. And sometimes the action plan is to say the Serenity prayer over and over.
Now I know this does not mean my children are immune from drugs or even heroin. But at least I know I have done more than told them “just say no to drugs” because it really just doesn’t work that way. Don’t get me wrong, I realize peer pressure may play a role sometimes but I don’t think that the people would be pressured into it if they were dealing with life in a healthy way in the first place.
So what now? First step would be to talk to your loved ones about coping with life’s issues without numbing the pain with drugs. Discuss counseling, talking with friends and family, etc… Let them know you know life can be hard at times and you are there for them. Second step is to visit http://www.nkyhatesheroin.com. This website was created by the family of Nicholas Specht to be the go-to spot for education and resources regarding heroin.