Showing posts from January, 2015

Do we really want to live in a world where we drug test our kids?

Each year the issue of schools drug testing our kids pops up and receives a flurry of media attention. A couple of weeks ago I highlighted a Herald Sun story titled 'Ice Hits Schools', a woeful piece of journalism that provided no evidence to back up the sensational headline and opening paragraph - "Desperate schools have flagged drug-testing their students to try to combat the rampant abuse of ice and other illicit substances".  As I said in that blog entry, there was a very 'wishy-washy' statement claiming the paper had been told that "some schools" had made contact with agencies, asking about drug testing and that an agency "confirmed that it had been approached by both teachers and parents" but that was it! We now live in a world where drug testing is becoming increasingly popular, e.g., roadside saliva drug testing or workplace drug testing. There are websites that provide parents with kits, swabs, and a variety of other materials

When you ask your child if they take drugs and they say 'no' - what do you do then?

Last week I posted a link to a newspaper article on my Facebook page that told the story of every parent's worst nightmare - the drug-related death of a child. Jennifer and Cees Janson were brave enough to go public about the death of their 19 year-old son who was on a 'gap year' in Canada who suffered a suspected drug overdose after combining cocaine with sleeping pills in September last year. It needs to be made clear that the coroner’s report has not been finalised as yet, but according to Mrs Janson the preliminary findings do suggest that drugs were a contributing factor. It appears that the parents agreed to the interview because they "wanted other parents to read their story and have an honest conversation with their children about drug use." Mrs Janson's words are very powerful and her words clearly show she has had some time since her son's death to think through this incredibly difficult situation: "Parents need to be able to have th

'Ice Hits Schools': Where is Media Watch when you need it?

Earlier this week the Herald Sun ran a front page story with the headline 'Ice Hits Schools'. In reality that was not what the story was actually about - little, if any of the piece had anything to do with schools. There were in fact three stories written on the topic of methamphetamine, all presented under the banner of 'Our Ice Scourge'! The paper had found a 20 year-old young woman who was willing to talk about a period of her life when she was an 'ice addict' and this personal story (along with photographs) was accompanied by two smaller pieces, one on ice now being the drug of choice among male prisoners seeking treatment in Victoria and the other titled 'Drug testing mooted as ice hits schools'. The story does provide some figures showing the number of young people seeking treatment in Victoria and they are quite shocking (since 2009-10, 49 children aged 10-15 received help for methamphetamines, including five aged 13!) but the headline simply do

Australian teens and 'jungle juice': The resurgence of interest in 'poppers'

I'm not sure how many of you are aware but I write two blogs, this one for adults (parents or those people who are interested in or work with adolescents), the other - 'The Real Deal on Drugs' - is for young people. More specifically, it is a blog designed to provide the opportunity for students that I speak to across the country to ask me questions that they may have that they did not feel comfortable asking me face-to-face, or something that they thought of after I left the school. It is proving to be quite popular (I'm getting twice as many visits to that site as I am to this one!) and some of the questions I get asked have proven to be quite challenging to answer! I want to make sure I am as honest as possible (visitors won't come back if they think they're being lied to) but also ensure that it doesn't appear to condone or promote alcohol and other drug use. It's a very fine line and each of the responses I have given have taken quite a long time