Drug awareness forum led by teens

A forum, organized by Alouette Addictions, called Your Kids and Drugs takes place April 23 at Pitt Meadows secondary

Dawn Taylor (left) and Tammy-Lee Maley

When teens themselves get involved in a drug and alcohol forum, parents get a lot more out of it.

That has been the experience of Dawn Taylor, the school-based prevention worker for Alouette Addictions Services, who is organizing an upcoming forum called Your Kids and Drugs.

It is the fourth year she has run the event, which generally attracts about 75 parents.

They learn about drug identification, trends in narcotics, how to identify whether your child is using drugs or alcohol, and strategies to deal with that situation.

It covers ecstasy, marijuana, acid, magic mushrooms, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and “a whole battery of prescription drugs.”

The adults can ask the teens virtually anything about the topic, with the proviso that no personal information is asked.

“I have about 20 teens who take part, and they’re an amazing, amazing group,” said Taylor.

“They (parents) love the talks with the kids – that’s the best part of the night.”

She said they are young people who have had various experiences with and even dependencies on drugs, and they are willing to talk frankly about things adults need to know.

“These kids genuinely love helping the parents.”

She said parents learn a few shocking facts, not least of which is how available drugs are for their children.

Drugs are so accessible to our teens, everywhere we go,” she said. “Pot is easier for them to get than alcohol.”

She said parents may also be shaken to learn that with the increasing potency of so-called B.C. Bud, teens report some frightening side effects.

“More kids experience symptoms of psychosis, even from pot,” she said.

Anxiety, paranoia and feelings of insecurity are the most common side effects reported, but some also have had auditory hallucinations.

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