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CADC produces drug prevention video for parents –

CADC produces drug prevention video for parentsFive Porter County parents share stories about how drug abuse affected their families in a new video released online last week.

“A Parent Plan for Drug Use Prevention” was commissioned by the Community Action Drug Coalition of Porter County.

The video opens with family photos of Manda Spitler as a baby with the audio recording of her father’s 911 call to Porter County dispatch in which he explains that he found his 20-year-old daughter unconscious and not breathing.

He tries performing CPR on his daughter, but she does not survive. She died March 31, 2002.

Dr. Mann Spitler III has shared that audio recording and his family’s story about Manda and her addiction during dozens of school talks since her death.

So, the CADC pooled money from fundraisers and from a grant to produce a 21-minute video that shares his personal story along with four other parents whose children have or are battling addiction.

Carey Rowel said she shared her story because of her son’s battle with addiction.

Rowell runs a support group, called the Elephant Group, for parents of addicts, named for that crushing feeling, like an elephant on one’s chest, when they learn their child is using drugs. She said she also wanted to be part of a prevention program.

She said she wants to make parents aware that drug abuse can happen in any family and she wants to remove the stigma associated with it.

“What kept our family sick, and what keeps so many families sick is shame,” Rowell said in the video. “And I think when you get educated and you have a good, strong support system as a parent, as a mother you can lose that shame so that you can help your child, and you can help your family. I share very, very openly, and I think when you do that, that judgment goes away when people really hear what it’s like and really see the families that cope with addiction every day.”

The mission of the Community Action Drug Coalition of Porter County is to work toward reducing and eliminating drug abuse in Porter County by advocating prevention, treatment and education.

Spitler said while CADC supports all three of those goals, its main emphasis is on prevention.

He will continue to speak at local schools and parent groups, but he hopes the video is a chance to spread the message to the homes of people not associated with those parent groups.

“If there’s going to be a war on drugs, it’s got to begin at home,” he said.

Prevention techniques for parents

  • Establish and maintain good communication and be involved in child’s life
  • Set aside time exclusively for your child
  • Spend at least 15 minutes a day in an activity your child wants to do
  • Find one opportunity each week to do something together
  • Validate your child’s feelings by practicing active listening
  • Recognize good behavior consistently and immediately
  • Make clear rules and enforce them consistently
  • Follow through with consequences
  • Recognize good behavior and acknowledge when they follow the rules
  • Discuss with your child that use of tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs not acceptable
  • Be positive role model
  • Do not engage in drug use; never involve your children in use of tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs
  • Point out examples of bad behavior
  • Teach kids to choose friends wisely
  • Tell kids you don’t want them to use alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs
  • Practice with your kids how to resist peer pressure
  • Help child feel to feel comfortable in in social situation
  • Help your child analyze media messages
  • Monitor your child’s activities
  • Get to know your child’s friends and their parents
  • Know where your child is going, who they’ll be with and what they’ll be doing – then verify it
  • Have your child check in at regular times and make it easy for them to contact you
  • Make sure your child has access to enjoyable, drug-free structured activities
  • Have your kids drug tested
  • Be a snoop, read your child’s journal, listen in on phone conversations, search your child’s room, car, purse, backpack

Signs and symptoms of teen self-abuse with drugs

  • Blood shot eyes
  • Skipping classes and slipping grades
  • Missing money or prescription drugs
  • Uncharacteristically isolated, withdrawn, angry or depressed
  • Dropping one group of friends for another and being secretive about new peers
  • Loss of interest in established activities
  • Demanding more privacy
  • Changes in appetite, sleep patterns, weight
  • Deteriorating appearance
  • Unusual smells on breath or clothing
  • Tremors, slurred speech, impaired coordination
  • Changes in personality
  • Hyperactivity or agitation
  • Lack of motivation
  • Mood swings, irritability, angry outbursts
  • Fearfulness, anxiousness, paranoia

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