Last week, I had the opportunity to listen to Chris Herren, former NBA basketball player, speak at Glenbard High School’s Parent Speaker Night on substance abuse. One word – riveting. As a father of teenagers, this presentation was especially timely.
It should never have happened to him, just like it should never happen to your child. Most of us know of people that have fallen to addiction, it has a dramatic impact on their life and a horrible ripple effect on their family.
NOBODY IMAGINES IT COULD HAPPEN TO THEM OR THEIR KID.
Please wake up to the fact that your son or daughter is only one bad decision away from the a life of addiction.
The focal point of Chris’ presentation was that our kids are only one bad decision away from becoming an addict. Your son or daughter might cave into the tempting peer pressure believing they will just try it once, and be able to abstain from future use.
As a teenager, I always said “no to drugs” because I was scared of becoming addicted. Back then, Nancy Reagan was spearheading the anti-drug awareness efforts. Remember the public service announcement, “This is your Brain on Drugs”? Our kids are not receiving that message today. Now marijuana is legal in two states and medical (I have a headache) marijuana will soon be legal in Illinois. Recently, our own President Obama called marijuana, “a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
It’s up to you to do what you can to help keep your kids from making that one bad decision.
Chris shared a couple of simple measures parents can take in order to help guide their children on the right path.
Firstly, Chris informed us that prescription drugs are a HUGE problem and urged parents to clear out or lock up their medicine cabinets. The most addicting of the popular prescription drugs: Adderall, Ambien, Codeine, Oxycontin and Vicodin. Are any of these prescription drugs lurking on your medicine cabinet shelves? Over the past twenty years, Oxycontin has caused more harm than any other prescription drug. Top 10 Abused Prescription Drugs
Secondly, Chris encouraged parents to ask their children: why do you feel the need to change (have alcohol or drugs) who you are when you are with your peers? Permitting teenagers to drink as long as they don’t drive is not ok. Allowing them to smoke marijuana is not ok. Being lenient on substance use can dramatically increase the chance they will make that ONE BAD DECISION, which could lead to them being addicts.
His presentation was uncomfortable at times, but his message was well received by the audience. With his goal of helping kids by sharing his story, he has now spoken to over 500,000 kids. Please share this with other kids and parents as it might have the ability to save someone.
Check out the links below if you want to learn more about Chris and his story. If you have the time, I highly recommend watching ESPN’s 30 for 30 for the full story.