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Town Stresses Communication to Combat Young Drug Abuse

Wilmington police, school and town officials said open lines of communications with young residents is critical to combating drug addiction.

Editor’s Note: The following is Part Four of Patch’s five part series on drug use in Wilmington. You can find the previous three stories on our topic page. Part One included local reaction to the problem, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"for-police-drug-use-seen-as-domestic-terrorism"} -->, Part Two featured a look at a forming in town and Part Three gave

Tom September 20, 2012 at 12:37 PM
The lines of communication have got to be wide open with your kids from a very young age. Do not be naive because they know more than you think they do. I make sure that my kids read the articles about young people of Wilmington dying from an overdose, or getting arrested for drugs or alcohol. They can read in black & white what the consequences are; as opposed to just hearing it from me. Show them what can happen if they make the wrong choices, don't just tell them.
Concerned Parent September 20, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I think guest speakers at the middle school level (like Westford just had), of someone that was a HS athlete and college athlete life was taken over by drugs - thankfully he turned it around. BUT it started with Marijauana. WE NEED THESE KIDS TO SEE FIRST HAND WHAT CAN HAPPEN. Not just read it. Hear it from someone who has lived it. I also think routine dogs in the schools are necessary.
Richard Jertz September 20, 2012 at 01:54 PM
They do it for the prom. Maybe it is time to reach out and have guest speakers at the High School and Middle School. I have heard some of the speakers and it hits you hard.
Mary Giroux September 20, 2012 at 02:27 PM
“People with the real influence on young people are their peers. So as a parent, how can you compete with that if you have only talked to your children about drugs once or twice?” said Wilmington Police Chief Michael Begonis. “You really have to have that line of communication so they understand that this is not the lifestyle they want to lead. It only takes once or twice doing something before they have serious, life-changing ramifications.” - This is 100% True. At this age they will listen to their peers more than they will listen to their parents. It is their age. It is an "us against them" mentality that they develop quickly in adolescent and teen years. I think part of the program should be teens and young adults who are recovering addicts speaking to these kids from their own personal experiences. If they are able to live to tell, they can tell kids exactly how it happened to them and the life changing, devastating consequences they have had to face because of it. Make this part of the program.
Wilmington resident September 20, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Communication is going to help, but I think we're past the "preventative" stage in this town. How about we look into how these drug addicted kids are treated? Health insurance will barely allow for a 4-5 day detox. Pretty much the only way to get a bed at one of these detoxes is to go to an ER and claim that you have a health issue or suicidal thoughts. Then you get 4 or 5 days... That's not going to even get the drugs fully out of their system. The longest most health insurances will cover a residential treatment is 2 weeks. 2 little weeks to kick a habit that has destroyed their lives. Explain that. Communication is going to help a lot... But that is with the expectation that all of these kids have good parents. Sorry, that's just not reality. Looking at the bigger picture is what is going to help. There is something SERIOUSLY wrong in the way our society treats drug addicts. It's a sickness. They CANNOT stop with out help. The truth is that there is just not a lot of help out there. THAT is what needs to change. Just my opinion....
Natalie D September 20, 2012 at 03:20 PM
The lines of communication are open here but I often see that look in their eyes as if I am one of the peanuts parents just being tuned out and tolerated...as far as speakers go...it can't hurt, might help. I am old but I remember being a teen like it was yesterday...and as a teen I had that invincible mentality... You know..." It won't happen to me.". I see a lot of kids walking around here with that same attitude. Fortunately for me I went to a Blue Ribbon High School where athletics and academics were the priority stressed from both community & administration. I was just informed by my son that our HS does not have a freshman or JV cheer squad & freshman football & JV football are played in a park rather than on the field. Perhaps we could bump up the athletic programs at our schools to give kids something to do & have pride in. I know when I was in school I never met a drop out... I never even knew you could drop out... I thought that was something that only happened in the 50's & 60's. I see a different world here. Maybe we should push the expectation of college on these children... have speakers and school scouts wanting to come to our schools. The children will rise to meet the expectations of the community. If we say to our children... kids in Wilmington have always partied...essentially, we are expecting them to party. Am I making sense? ( cont...)
Natalie D September 20, 2012 at 03:20 PM
(Continued...) I am one parent in a community and the peers are the ones with real influence so how do we change their focus. How do we preen teen leaders that they will look up to? How do we make the kids focus on what we want them to focus on? If the children are focusing on their future of being successful members of the community & being competitive in the college and job markets they will have less time to focus on how to score drugs & alcohol. If we can inspire school pride through athletics drugs and alcohol don't really fit into that lifestyle & it keeps kids busy & active. What would it take to start competitive athletics programs in middle school that are affordable & school related? What would it take to improve the programs and expand on a HS level? Do you think it would work? It works in other communities around the nation.
jo September 20, 2012 at 03:25 PM
DARE is taught in 4th and 5th grade, and drops off the planet 6th-8th. Why is that? If I recall, it's middle school when the real experimentation/peer pressure begins with drugs and alcohol, why stop when it is needed most? I agree, parents own a bulk of the communication on this subject, but why drop a program that is so critical? I know there is huge emphasis on bullying in the middle school, but making wise decisions wrt drugs and alcohol is desperately needed too.
webmom September 20, 2012 at 03:26 PM
"But that is with the expectation that all of these kids have good parents"..and that is part of the problem WR, not all parents are good. The ones NOT reading this series or talking to their kids are the ones you somehow have to find. It's their kids that influence others around them. While I totally agree recovering addicts speaking to kids, sometimes I think kids will think 'if they are fine now, what is the big deal'...any way you can have addicts talking...ones that aren't recovering? You know what I mean...not show how successful they are after they quit, but how miserable they are because it started? Just a thought.
Natalie D September 20, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Maybe we can look at some communities that are successful with their children & steal some of their ideas and make them our own? Just an idea.
Natalie D September 20, 2012 at 03:38 PM
This was My HS. I graduated in 1991. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Brunswick_High_School This is their athletics program...and being on the field was a big deal...especially as an underclassman. http://www.ebnet.org/departments.cfm?subpage=175
Natalie D September 20, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Academically our Blue Ribbon high school provides a rigorous and comprehensive curriculum developed to meet the needs of approximately 2300 students in grades 10-12. Our student body enrolls in many challenging courses as they amass 140 credits over their four years. Recently our students took 1047 AP exams with 90.2% receiving scores of 3 or higher. Approximately 95% of our students go on to enroll in secondary education and 72% attend a four-year college. During the 2012 school year we were proud to have 9 National Merit Finalists, 27 Commended students and 229 Presidential Scholars. Furthermore, our academic teams garnered awards ranging from first in the state to fourth in the nation. ...... Athletically our teams continue to excel in our 30 varsity sports. Their talents, accomplishments and sportsmanship continue to illustrate the efforts of all of our student athletes. During the 2011-12 school year our athletic teams won six divisional championships, five conference championships, two Group IV sectional championships, and one overall state championship. We were also proud to have one All American. ..... http://www.ebnet.org/EastBrunswick.cfm?subpage=102
Natalie D September 20, 2012 at 03:47 PM
98% graduation rate. http://www.publicschoolreview.com/school_ov/school_id/51586
Natalie D September 20, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Rank, Enrollment, Student:Teach, Per-Pupil $,Grad. Rate,# Sports,Half/Full PK ,AP 8 Northborough-Southborough 1,438 13.9:1 13,695 98.1 58 Both 20 17 Medfield 2,939 15.3:1 10,741 97.7 59 Half 12 20 Winchester 4,282 14.8:1 11,363 94.9 72 Both 16 79 Wilmington 3,732 13.8:1 11,573 91.1 50 Half 5 http://www.bostonmagazine.com/best-schools-in-boston/index.html I took a school from the top 10 and a few schools above us who spent a similar amount per pupil. I am going to peruse these schools websites to see what they are doing. I am not from MA. I've only lived here for 2.5 years so I am unfamiliar with these areas.
Natalie D September 20, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I believe funding was cut for this program.
Natalie D September 20, 2012 at 04:35 PM
As a whole, I think we can expect all parents to be the best they can be. Since there is no play book we can't really pass judgement as to what a good parent is. Stacey who comments here can tell you I have butted heads with more than a few parents of my children's friends. What it boils down to is a difference in values. The majority rules in each town so perhaps have to assess the values of the community as a whole. What is acceptable for our youth & what is not? What do we expect of our children as young citizens of this community? How High/ Low is the bar? How can we provide them with the tools to succeed? Being a parent is hard.
Natalie D September 20, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I am organizing my thoughts & research. I just emailed it to Matt Schooley so as not to keep talking to myself here.
Natalie D September 20, 2012 at 05:22 PM
If someone you know has a drug problem or has a child with a drug problem & they are on mass health they need to switch to MBHP https://www.masspartnership.com/. MPHP offers the best service approval for mental health & addiction treatment. If you have private insurance UBH will extend the stay until the patient is really ready for outpatient care.UBH http://www.unitedbehavioralhealth.com/
JoeC September 22, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Thanks Natalie, how's the food? Do they allow you to have doritos or smart food? Thanks
JoeC September 22, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Natalie there unlimited commenting on here in case you were wonding.
JoeC September 22, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Hi Natalie
RumRadio.org Joseph September 23, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Hi Enjoyed reading about you towns take on combating the ever growing drug and alcohol addiction menace. In an effort to be of help I wanted to introduce an addiction resource website. RumRadio.org we are in 142 foreign countries including Mississippi,2500 towns cities and villages with 163,000 hits to website to date. (9/10/09) There is no money being made and we adhere to the 11th A.A. Tradition of anonymity, all we ask of you is use to use the tools laid at your feet and open your mouth and pass it on. See you on the radio RumRadio.org Joseph
daj November 29, 2012 at 01:31 PM
I agree that it all starts at home but once these kids get to be 8th grade and up, I think their peers are their main influence. Kids do things to fit in and if they are trying to find their "group," they'll do whatever they need to. This has gone on since the end of time. As parents, we cant give up on the lectures or speeches or talks about addiction/drugs/alcohol. I have an issue though when parents say "kids will be kids" or "its what they are all doing so its okay." No, its not okay! Its not okay if a child has been getting high or drinking at a party and gets in a car and puts someone else in danger. I also have concerns about the entire athletic views in this town. You have young athletes that sign a contract to follow MIAA guidelines, but continue to get high the night before games. I know this for a fact. And if they get caught, they are mildly punished, depending how how important they are to that sport. The better the athlete, the less severe the punishment. The school needs to be tougher on these kids to show that it isnt acceptable. Unfortunately, it seems to be hushed down and kids are given many chances. Its very frustrating.

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