Showing posts from September, 2013

Why everyone, particularly parents, should be questioning the use of drug detection dogs

Let's start by making a few things clear - illicit drugs are just that - illegal. If you make the choice to use illicit drugs, whether it be cannabis, ecstasy or whatever, one of the greatest risks you face is that you could be caught and, as a result, face consequences that could change your life forever. This blog entry does not deal whether particular drugs should be legal or not. If you believe there should be drug law reform then there are a range of organisations that you can join that are working to change policies in that area. I also want to make it completely clear that this is not a criticism of the police or policing - I have worked closely with police from across the country for close to 25 years and when it comes to the illicit drugs area they have a clear job to do - to uphold the law. Overwhelmingly, I have found the vast majority of them to be great people who are often passionate about what they do and simply want to do their job well. That said, in recent years

Is your drinking problematic? What can you do to be a better role model?

As much as some parents would like to pretend that it's not the case, the truth is that our children learn more about alcohol from watching Mum and Dad and their socializing habits than from anywhere else. There is no way around it - parents are key role models when it comes to their kids' attitudes towards alcohol and future drinking behaviour. Of course, this can be great if both parents are responsible drinkers and have positive attitudes towards alcohol that are conveyed effectively to their children, but it can be a potential nightmare if the reverse is true. Alcohol is a part of many adult Australians' lives and, if we're going to be completely honest, most 'slip-up' at some point or another! No-one is suggesting that parents who enjoy a drink occasionally are bad parents and should stop enjoying themselves, but on the other hand it is important for parents to every now and then take a good, hard look at their drinking behaviour and consider what their

What do you say when you call a parent hosting a party?

Teenage parties (or 'gatherings' as they're now called) are by their very nature events where adolescents are going to let their hair down and as a result, things can go wrong, particularly when alcohol is added to the mix. The decision to allow your child to attend a party or not is one that all parents will face eventually. Parents need to make their decision based on a range of information that unfortunately can be extremely difficult to collect. As I've written in a previous blog entry, o ne thing for sure is that your child will not want you to contact the parents holding the party. As far as a teenager is concerned that is the ultimate embarrassment, however, if you want to make an informed decision when it comes to your child attending a party or not, you are going to have to bite the bullet and take the risk.  If your child was going on a school excursion and there were any potential risks involved in the trip you would want to know as much as possible abou

What does 'a bad batch of ecstasy' really mean?

With the reported death of a young man at a dance festival in Sydney over the weekend it did not take long for a news service to start talking about 'a bad batch of ecstasy pills'. So before we get onto what that ridiculous statement might actually mean - let's take a look at what we do know at this time and what we don't ... All we do know is that according to media reports a 23 year old male attending the Defqon.1 festival in Penrith was taken to the event's medical centre around midday and died at around 10.30pm last night. The reports also state that the young Victorian man suffered a series of seizures (and a number of cardiac arrests according to some media outlets) and that's about it ... We don't know what drugs he supposedly took (ecstasy or not) and we certainly don't know if those drugs were potentially more dangerous than those typically available on the street, but very quickly the media jumped onto the possibility that there may be 'a b

Supporting your child in their decision not to drink alcohol

Once in a while I will have a mum and a dad (it's always both parents!) come up to me after my Parent Information Evening concerned about their son (it's always a son!). It often takes them a while to get to the point but finally they tell me that they are becoming worried because their teen is 15 years of age and he's not interested in alcohol! When I ask them why this would be a problem the answer is always the same - "Well, he won't fit in will he?" First of all, let me make it clear that I totally get where they're coming from. As I state quite clearly, I don't drink alcohol and never really have to any great extent. As a non-drinker I have found it more and more difficult over the years to find things to do with friends and family where alcohol is not firmly positioned at the core. As I always say, the only place I can think of where you can truly socialise without alcohol is an AA meeting and I have no real desire to go there! If I find it diff