The Porter County Substance Abuse Council works to reduce substance abuse in the county. Together with Portage Mayor Snyder, Police Sgt. Hughes, Union Fire Department Chief Beach, and others, they helped to raise awareness today with over 70 students from Myers Elementary in Portage. The event was the annual Red Ribbon Week Kick-Off. This year Mayor Snyder hosted the event and talked to the students about being drug free. Tim Kunstek, Director of Student Services at Portage High School, talked to the students about not giving poison to dogs and not consuming poison.
Porter County has been celebrating Red Ribbon Week for over 20 years. An awareness campaign, it introduces the concept of being drug-free to young children. The Substance Abuse Council and others recommend that parents talk to their children about remaining drug free. Children whose parents talk to them about drug use and the hazards of drug use are statistically less likely to engage in risky behaviors including using drugs.
Parents can discover whether children are abusing drugs simply by paying attention. Your child might be abusing drugs if he or she: wears long sleeves or inappropriate clothing for the weather, drastically changes her taste in clothing or music; is always scratching; has a dry, red nose and face, is extremely fatigued, or complains of an upset stomach or nausea.
If you suspect your teenager of using drugs keep track of the mileage on your car, pay attention to how your teenager’s cash is being spent, watch for missing spoons, valuable items, small pieces of foil or baggies.
Parents can help their children learn to say no. First, parents can model saying no within earshot of their children. Second, parents can talk to their children about how to say no without feeling guilty or unlikable. The Substance Abuse Council’s Parent Guidebook has further suggestions for parents.
Another tool for parents and children is a secret code. With a secret code, a child can contact one of his/her parents, say the code and know that the parents will understand. The code can mean simply: Come get me. Using this code will give the child security and provide the parents a safe mechanism for keeping the lines of communication open.
The Porter County Substance Abuse Council Guidebook informs parents about the types of illegal drugs and their street names. Included in the Guidebook is information on where to go locally for help and how to obtain a drug testing kit for $5. More information can be found at portercountysac.org.
Dedicated to working for a drug-free Porter County, the Substance Abuse Council is a coalition of treatment facilities, education providers, members of the justice community and concerned citizens. A member of the Governor’s Commission for a Drug Free Indiana, the Council has been providing funding to community resources for over twenty-five years.