The Dangers of Hanging Out with the Rough Crowd at Home

We all know this, but parents who do drugs really need a wake up call. A slap in the face, something, to get them to stop being such idiots.

One high school student told me he knows a bunch of kids who do drugs solely because their parents do it. That’s how they got into it, they say. Illegal drug abuse by parents, seen and copied by children. What a terrible legacy to leave your kids. (Not that getting your kids hooked on legal drugs like tobacco and alcohol is doing them a favor, either.)

Shouldn’t the first priority of parents be the welfare of their children? How is it that so many kids with drug abuse problems picked those habits or addictions up not from the rough crowd at school, but from the rough crowd at home?

{Non-specific story of parents somewhere in Wisconsin condoning a student’s drug use deleted.}

Anybody got a 2 x 4 to whack some sense into a few parents? That probably doesn’t do any good when you’re that far gone, I suppose. Not sure that’s the Christian approach, either. Any suggestions??


Author: Jeff Lindsay

19 thoughts on “The Dangers of Hanging Out with the Rough Crowd at Home

  1. I am sure Jeff knows what he is doing.

    Maybe a way to narc them out without really saying anything? Just let someone see the blog perhaps?

  2. re: pure gossip

    This is an interesting question…

    Unfortunately, I have no doubt that parents and athletes *do* give bad examples wrt drugs, which is the main point of this post.

    – 2nd and 3rd hand account? Yes.
    – All that likely to be false? Unfortunately not.
    – Likely to damage the reputation of the athlete? Probably not, given that they openly brag about it without fear of repercussions.
    – Likelihood that one or more administrator types know about the issue and choose to do nothing? Very high, in my experience at least.
    – Can it still be called gossip? Depends on your definition, I guess… to me, news reporters spread “true gossip” all the time, with questionable motives, but almost nobody calls them out for it.

    Gossip or not, though, I don’t think Jeff just now figured out high schoolers do illegal drugs. He’s frustrated with how parents and educators tolerate or even condone it.

  3. To be minutely safer, I deleted the story about parents condoning drug use. I don’t think it gave anything away. The community I and my kids interact with is much more than just Appleton with its 80,000 people and five large high schools, but includes the Fox Valley and surroundings, ranging from Green Bay to Oshkosh, with about 400,000 people and many schools. (The potential scope of interaction is much larger than that when you consider my kids’ involvement in sports and music puts them in contact with a wider variety of Wisconsin communities, as does my involvement with in several area.) The example I gave actually was not from Appleton.

  4. Among other things, I work as a drug prevention specialist in Illinois (and have worked as one in Tennessee, albeit only for a brief period of time). We spend so much of our time working at empowering young people to make positive life-choices, but then what happens when they go home? I wonder how much of our work is undone by parents teaching their children, by word and by deed, that “just a little bit” won’t hurt.

    Drug abuse is a very real and very serious problem in high schools, and it is becoming a very real and very serious problem in the middle schools, as well. A great very many young people choose to say no, and walk away from the offers of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Unfortunately, the ones who don’t say no are often the ones who are considered “popular” by whatever standards may exist. And so the realities of peer pressure increase.

    Thus, parents everywhere need to make a more concerted effort at setting a good example and making sure that the home is the one sure place their children can come to that is safe from all “the evil designs of conspiring men”.

  5. Thanks Jeff. I’m happier now. 🙂

    Now my question is, what is that high school student (the one who informed you) going to do about it?

    It’s not surprising though. Drug use moved out of the counter-culture of the 1960’s and into the mainstream in the 70’s and later. People who grew up in the 70’s and later now have kids in high school and college. In other words, the pot-heads from back then have high school and college kids now.

    Should it surprise anyone that the children of pot-heads use drugs?

    You (Jeff) can’t directly do anything in the situation, because you’ve heard it third hand. All you can legitimately say is “I heard a rumor” about the alleged drug users.

    I assume the high school student got it via hearsay (it’s “hearsay” even if it came from the lips of the alleged drug users) and didn’t actually witness the drug use, so he’s one step removed from it too.

    So what is the high school student going to do? Narc on the people who confessed to drug use? And if he narcs on them, what do you and he expect school officials to do? They can’t punish someone based on a second hand confession.

    Should they drug test the specific students in question based on the hearsay testimony of the high schooler who told you?

    There’s an easy way to harass other students, just say you heard them talking about using drugs.

    What’s the legal status of regular or random drug tests for high school athletes in Wisconsin? Are drug tests part of the required sports physical at the beginning of each year or season? Are random tests allowed or done?

    If mandatory pre-season and/or random testing is allowed, are the high schools actually doing it?

    Just the threat of random testing hanging over the head of a high-school athlete may be enough of help to resist peer pressure.

    Do your area high schools have any “scared-straight” programs? Like meth users who lost all their teeth? Crack users who got AIDS after they turned to prostitution? Steroid abusers who permanently damaged their bodies or who were jailed/hospitalized due to steroid-rage? People who are now permanently on anti-psychotics due to brain-damage from the new generation of designer drugs?

    Jeff, I agree there is a huge problem, and it’s also much larger than you are probably aware of.

    Not only is teen drug use widespread in your middle and upper-middle class white-bread WASP-ish midwwest part of the country, the drugs are more dangerous than what was prevalent in our day. Oh, and by the way LSD has made a comeback.

    And a related problem is sexual promiscuity (made easier when drugs and presidential examples come into the picture) spreading various STD’s with permanent effects; not just HIV/AIDS, but other permanent or long term viruses and subsequent medical conditions.

  6. BTW, to all parents, home-test drug tests are available at drug stores.

    You can legally test your children for drugs.

    I’ve seen ones for marijuana and ones for opiates.

    There are also services where you can mail in a small amount of hair and they can test those.

    The take-home in-home tests (urine samples, I believe) are in the $20 to $30 range.

    I’m not a parent, so I don’t have much idea about how to go about it. But I imagine parents could make a deal about car privileges or other things wherein a teen is entrusted.

    You want a driver’s license? You want the car keys? You want to go on an out-of-town trip or over-night stay with other teens? Then pass random drug tests that Mom and Dad administer.

    Just having the test sitting at home with the possibility of using it gives kids the ability to tell their peers: “I can’t. My parents drug-test me.” If gives the _kids_ a tool to use to fight peer pressure.

    So just having it, and not even using it, may help.

  7. It is a form of child abuse and should be reported the Child Protective Services. If any of the children are under 18 you may even have a legal responsibility to report it if you are in one of the following positions: licensed teacher, doctor, nurse, cop, or clergy.

    This is the best 2×4 as it will remove children until the parents clean up. It protects the kids and gives a great incentive to the parents, if they want their kids back that is.

  8. ALSO: The police can and will go do a “health check” on a residence and talk to the family. Child Protective Services will also do investigations.

    No need to speculate, if you have any worry whatsoever report it and let those that have authority do something about it if there is a real problem.

  9. Anon at 1:36 and 1:42,

    The problem is that Jeff has no basis for reporting anything. He just heard a rumor.

    Jeff heard it from “some high school student”.

    Then, this high school student didn’t actually see anything. He/she is only going by some stuff they heard.

    The most I think that Jeff can do in this particular situation is to encourage that high school student to report it to school authorities.

    Civil authorities, such as police or child protective services likely won’t do anything on hearsay.

    Well, Child Protective Services might. They seem to have a habit of that in some states, like Texas.

  10. I’m baffled and shocked by the fact that middle-schoolers are getting involved with drugs. The fact that someone that age would even think about that sort of thing shows that there is a huge problem. I didn’t even THINK about drugs until I was in high school and old enough to be prosecuted for it. I’m not condoning it; no one should subject themselves to that. But I at least knew the risks I was taking, and was willing to take them. Children shouldn’t even have access to those things.

  11. Nathan…there is alot of stuff that goes on in schools today that would shock most people. As a high school teacher for many years I saw things that I didn’t even know about as an adult, or didn’t know till adulthood that my students knew about. With the explosion of 24/7 media, the internet, cell phones, texting all the time and so on, kids are much more exposed to things than they once were, and it’s harder and harder for parents to keep their eyes on everything that is going on in their kids lives. Kid today have adult situations and choices forced on them at earlier and earlier ages. Most parents, in my experience had no clue of what their kids were into, or they did have a clue, but felt they could not say something (especially regarding drug use) becasue they did it themselves and did not want to appear to be hypocritcal, or they don’t know how to deal with the situation, or they were trying to be the “cool” parent. Jeff is right, what they don’t realize is when they are being “cool” their kids are given choices that kids should not have to make.

  12. Jeff,

    1. There is no “some high school student.” He has a name.

    2. This must be reported to Child Protection/Police dept. etc.

    3. You have a responsibility to do so.

  13. Halibut,

    As both an educator and a drug prevention specialist, I am a “mandated reporter” when it comes to issues of abuse, which includes drug abuse. As much as Jeff may trust his sources for this story of teen drug abuse being supported by parents, there is, at least from what Jeff has reported, any actual evidence of abuse. As Bookslinger pointed out, it is merely hearsay.

    However, this does not excuse the parents or others from striving to first stop this behaviour and then preventing it in the future. My suggestion would be to schedule a meeting with a school administrator, and express concerns.

    On a more practical level, you may want to visit to see how you can get involved in your community. It doesn’t look like Appleton has any Operation Snowball chapters (the only two in Wisconsin are in Janesville and Eagle River, both quite a distance from you folks), but there are lots of organizations out there that are working hard to combat this very problem. Check it out, and get involved!

  14. As someone who has vast experiences of working within family therapy, can I recommend that you use a cast-iron frying pan?

    I feel that a 2×4 just doesn’t suffice: the message, in my professional mind, needs to be hammered into the inner parts of their neurological mind.

    Jeff, if you feel you’d like any more of my evidence-based opinions, please don’t hesitate to ask me. =)

  15. My father was a “pot head” of the 60’s-70’s. My parents were split, and visiting him during the summers and such, I do have an awful lot of memories of him and his USAF buddies toking it up around me. My sister and I definitely had our share of contact buzzes. His drug use was mostly marijuana, which didn’t bring with it the strong addiction that many other drugs have.

    He still tells me about how he sees nothing wrong with it and for him he sees it as almost a spiritual thing. As a convert to the gospel of Jesus Christ I know better and I am blessed to have had this bit of knowledge revealed to me. My past experiences have given me a different perspective on drug use. I don’t feel like my father was a terrible father. Even though it might sound appalling to most, he still just was using the knowledge that he had to be the best father he knew how to be. That is more what I remember about him than anything.

  16. Sometimes I wonder why people have so much time on their hands that they can’t wait for an opportunity to criticize rather than take the theme and run with it.

    As if on cue, Ryan O’neil and his son were arrested in a drug sweep today.

    This is a cultural discussion and worthy of intelligent debate, not a commentary on how the subject was introduced.

    Thanks, Jeff, for making us think.

  17. Late response to Halibut: No, I don’t know the name of the student, and when I asked, my source preferred not to reveal it.

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