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It’s so easy to use when you’re with mates

Young Adult lighting a marijuana Joint in the dark

Used for illustrative purposes only, the person depicted in this image is a model.

I was about 12 when I began smoking a little bit of pot. I began drinking too and occasionally I tried speed. I never fitted into school and I found a pair of mates who were the same and we’d use with each other. It’s hard to explain why I started but I suppose I relied on these things to make me feel better. When I got too many thoughts in my head – happy or sad – I’d try and wash them out with drugs.

I started smoking pot more often in the week and doing crazy things on the weekend. By the time I was 13 or 14 I was using pot every day and drinking and popping pills and I was in and out of different schools.

In early 2012 I got a job working with my family. I’d only smoke pot during the week but would go really crazy at the weekends – coke, amphetamines, methamphetamines … I got prescribed benzos as well. Whatever I could get, really. Read more

A Parents Guide to Cannabis


By Cheryl Critchley

One in three adults and one in seven teenagers has tried cannabis.

Cannabis is Australia’s most popular illicit drug and many of today’s high-school parents have tried it. The 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey found that 35 per cent of Australians reported using cannabis at least once, with 10 per cent using it in the past year. A 2011 Australian high-school students’ survey found cannabis was the most commonly used illicit substance by this age group, with 15 per cent of 12 to 17-year-olds reporting they had tried it.

Most people who use cannabis seek a sense of mild euphoria and relaxation, often referred to as a “high”. Cannabis causes changes in the user’s mood and also affects how they think and perceive the environment. Everyday activities such as watching television and listening to music can become altered and more intense.

Generally speaking, people who start smoking cannabis at a younger age and smoke heavily are more likely to experience problems. This may include mental health problems, and more general life problems, such as conflict at home or school/work, financial problems and memory problems.

If a teenager has a genetic vulnerability, such as close family with depression, psychosis, bipolar disorder or anxiety, or if they have an existing mental health issue, cannabis should be avoided.

Rolling a joint Read more

A Parents Guide to Alcohol

By Cheryl Critchley
A Parents Guide to Alcohol

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

Children look to their parents to set standards. Parental attitudes to drinking have a big influence on
their children. There is nothing wrong with having a drink, but parents need to be aware that their alcohol habits are observed by their children, who may take a lead from their behaviour.

MYTH: Allowing under-18s to drink will “ease them into it”
FACT: Alcohol can be damaging to young, developing brains. Early drinking is also linked to increased alcohol consumption in adolescence and young adulthood and the possibility of damage to the developing brain and development of alcohol related harms in adulthood. Read more

Raising resilient kids


Parents at McKinnon engaging with the experts on our Parent Guides panel
Pitsa Binnion

Pitsa Binnion

By Pitsa Binnion 

Pitsa is the principal at McKinnon Secondary College in Victoria, Australia

Our school culture is one based on the principle of community. We’ve created a hub – one that is fuelled by what I often call the ‘McKinnon Magic’. It brings our community together and encourages teachers and parents to help every child see what success looks like and to understand the responsibilities of being part of our community. Every one of us needs to do our bit to raise resilient kids who, when confronted with difficult choices, make the right decisions. Read more

What to do if you suspect your kids have a drug problem

 

Kirsten Cleland

Photo: Fiona Hamilton

“A significant number of young people we see at Headspace have substance-abuse or misuse issues. Alcohol and marijuana are the most prevalent substances, and we also see a little cocaine and ecstasy.

“Ice use is becoming more problematic. We see kids who were battling mental-health issues like depression and anxiety and now they have ice use, too, and some are turning to sex work and crime to pay for that. I’ve heard kids say that they’ve been given ice for free, not realising that sooner or later the people giving them their free ice will want something in return. People are making it available to kids to suck them into using it and then they hit them up for money or sex.

“For the 12 to 14-year-olds, it’s a time of experimentation. For the slightly older group, things happen when they’ve been intoxicated that they are embarrassed and ashamed of, like their behaviour or having unprotected sex. The 17-plus age group are using more and more alcohol and substances to get through the day. They’re binge drinking on weekends and using whatever they can get their hands on with school friends or social groups outside school. After a couple of appointments here, when they feel comfortable, they may tell us they’ve been drinking until they black out, that there are photos of them floating around that they don’t recall or that they lost their virginity because they were drunk.
Read more

Repairing your immune system after drug abuse

VitaminsGuest post by Sharon Brooks 

Registered Nutritionist, Food Scientist & Yoga Teacher
BAppSci (Food Sci & Nutr), G Cert Hum Nutr, RNutr
Nutrition Society of Australia Committee Member (Victoria)
200hr Qualified Yoga Teacher

Drug and alcohol abuse can cause biochemical alterations in the body. One fundamental aspect of this is the possible long-term damage to immune system strength. The immune system includes white blood cells, lymph vessels and nodes, spleen, thymus gland and other lymphatic tissues. This system provides a defence against foreign particles and pathogens. In other words, the immune system attempts to distinguish between “self” and “non-self”. It is therefore a crucial component in ridding the body of toxins and toxic build-up in drug recovery.

The other core bodily system commonly impacted by drug usage is the digestive system, which includes the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder and pancreas. The digestive system is fundamental to the body’s ability to absorb nutrients that boost immune strength. As such, indirectly the digestive system is just as important to immune health as the immune system itself. Read more

Isn’t it time we heard something positive about drugs?

Isn't it time we heard something positive?

Parents: It’s important to stay optimistic. Things can change for the better, even when you least expect it.

One thing we’re trying to do differently at Parent Guides is to highlight the importance of telling stories and sharing experiences. Shocking statistics and fear often underpin a vast majority of educational material relating to drugs. Unfortunately much of what were hear are horror stories.

Isn’t it about time we heard something positive?

Sally’s* 16-year-old daughter has successfully pulled herself out of drug addiction to pursue her childhood dream. She told us her story.. Read more

The basics all parents should know about Ice

Basics about Ice

A poignant quote from sex worker Ashly Lorenzana who published an autobiographical memoir entitled Sex, Drugs & Being an Escort.

Ice is a highly addictive form of amphetamine known as methamphetamine. It is stronger than the powdered form of amphetamine, speed. Usage rates by Australian teenagers are generally low, but pockets of Melbourne and regional Victoria face growing ice-related problems, both physical and social. Drug overdose deaths and ambulance attendances involving ice have risen in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria in the past two years.

While the use of amphetamines as a whole has not increased, more people are using it in the potent crystal methamphetamine form (ice), which produces strong highs very quickly and can be highly addictive. Read more

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