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Educate yourself about the signs of drug abuse

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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I am haunted by their stories. Two courageous women from the family-friendly suburbs of Rocklin shared their heartbreaking stories of drug abuse at the Drug Forum held last week at Del Oro High School. Both of these women, one a mother and the other a sister, belonged to good, caring families, not places you'd expect to find drug abuse. The woman, in her early 20's, lost her younger brother last year. He committed suicide after wasting his teen years addicted to oxycodone, a prescription painkiller. The other woman, a stay-at-home mom, has a son serving time in Folsom State Prison for an armed robbery he committed just days after his eighteenth birthday. He was a good kid who became an addict. Students in the Loomis School district participate in the D.A.R.E. anti-drug program and graduate from it in sixth grade. They've learned the dangers of tobacco, huffing, alcohol and marijuana. But there is a myriad of illegal and prescription drugs out their not covered in the program. The forum was presented by the Placer County Sheriffs and Placer County Substance Abuse Prevention. During the program some sobering statistics were offered. Undersheriff Devon Bell said that more than 30 percent of Placer County Jail inmates committed a drug related crime. The drug of choice in Placer County is Meth and that the abuse of prescription pain medications (which are ground up and snorted) is on the rise. Also, marijuana has THC levels 20 “ 40 times higher than in the 1970's. Warning Signs of Abuse Child is withdrawn, irritable, secretive on phone or computer, depressed, tired, careless about grooming, hostile, uncooperative or caught lying. Relationships with family members have deteriorated. Group of friends has changed. Grades have slipped, no interest in previously enjoyed hobbies, sports and other favorite activities. Eating or sleeping habits have changed. Has a hard time concentrating. Eyes are red rimmed, blood shot, pupils constricted or droopy. Has a runny nose but no cold. Household money missing. Clues of Abuse Tobacco smell on clothes, finding eye drops, drugs or drug paraphernalia. What You Can Do Educate yourself. Know what drugs are easily available. Never say Not my kid. Your children WILL be offered drugs at some point in their high school years. They may be pressured by friends, classmates or their romantic interest. Talk to your children early and often about the dangers of drug abuse. Don't be ambiguous. Clearly state your position. Know your child's friends, where they're going, what they're doing. Talk to the parents for sleepovers or parties. Give your child some good ways to say No to drug use offers. Dispose of old prescriptions. Keep prescription medications in a contained place, not your medicine cabinet. Keep alcohol locked up. Remember, no one is immune to the temptation or exempt from the opportunity to abuse drugs. As parents, friends, relatives and community members it is our responsibility to help our youth make the right choices. More information is available at these Web sites: www.drugfree.org, www.stopteendrugaddiction.com, www.timetotalk.org, www.methresources.gov.