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Drugs - What you can do

Where can I access resources and treatments?

It is the priority of the Calgary Police Service to minimize the harms associated to drug abuse through collaboration with community agencies.

What's the best advice I can give to my daughter to keep her away from drugs? How do I talk to my kid about drugs?

We know that parents need to have conversations all the time with their kids, not just when they suspect a problem. The Calgary Police Service aims to support parents/care givers by providing facilitated sessions that offer education in specific areas such as drug abuse and the law, as well as information on child and teenage development and resources to support healthy families.

All community members, including parents need to focus on the value system they want to see their kids have and on the behaviours they want to see from their kids. You can't tell a kid not to smoke a joint over and over again if you have not talked about and rehearsed refusal skills, scripting around real life scenarios that might invite drug abuse and what the benefits of not engaging in drug abuse are, such as health (mental and physical), more life options, other ways to belong and manage stress.

Can police come and speak to my son/daughter about the dangers of drugs?

Police are one resource that can provide information to young people in relation to issues surrounding illegal drug use.

Drug education needs to be consistent, relevant and age appropriate. Parents and guardians need to have age appropriate conversations with their kids about substance use. There are a variety of different resources that can be accessed by a parent or guardian to start the conversation surrounding the topic of drugs, substance abuse, and addiction.

Can police come to my school/community/youth group and present the dangers of drugs?

From a prevention stand point, the CPS is engaged in educating children through the Start Smart Stay Safe program in partnership with the Calgary Board of Education, The Calgary Catholic School District and Mount Royal University - Centre for Child Well-Being.

This program in schools and for families aims at building resilience and encouraging strengths based orientation to making healthy choices, inclusiveness and positive relationships, belonging as well as promoting safety and responsibility.

Duties of School Resource Officers who operate in Calgary Junior High and High Schools include drug enforcement, education and assistance with rehabilitation. School resource officers are a resource for both students and their parents. In the high schools, student resource officers provide drug education sessions for Career and Life Management Classes.

Can you get used to drugs, so your body doesn't react the same way each time?

Because there are no controls over what illegal drugs are made of, there is no consistency in their ingredients. There is no guarantee how your body will react each and every time that you take an illegal drug because no one knows exactly what you are putting into your body.

Is there a "watch-list" of things I should keep my eye out for that may indicate someone is taking drugs?

Symptoms of drug use vary depending on the amount and type of drug used and individual human differences. It is therefore difficult to provide a specific list of what to look for. Certain changes in behaviours may indicate that an individual is using drugs or has a substance abuse problem.

How do you tell if someone is overdosing?

No one knows the exact contents of illegal drugs which makes it almost impossible to predict how an individual will react after consumption. This makes it difficult to provide a list of symptoms of overdosing.

If you suspect that someone's well- being is being affected by a drug, legal or otherwise, it is best to call 9-1-1 and have the person assessed by emergency services. No one would ever be criticized for calling emergency services regarding a concern that someone may be suffering from harm. Unfortunately it can, and has, resulted in tragedy when people are reluctant to call for help for a person in distress.

What can I do if my friend is occasionally doing drugs and I want to stop him/her, without getting him/her in trouble?

Sometimes being a good friend means showing a concern for activities that may affect their well being or even harm them. People need to educate themselves on substances that may affect their health and well-being. It is not uncommon for young people to be unaware or improperly advised of the potential harms associated with drug use and abuse.

There are an abundance of informative websites that provide accurate and meaningful truths about drug use for audiences of all ages. These websites also provide information on everything from how to help someone that may be either thinking about experimenting with drugs to addiction related issues.

Often young people end up trying drugs because of peer pressure. One way to help your friend is to offer them practical tips on how to say no.

Identify trusted people in your life

It is important for everyone, especially children and teens to identify the trusted people in our lives that we can go to for counsel. Teens have trusted adults or peers in their lives that have their best interest in mind.

This can be a parent, extended family, a teacher, a coach, a member of their faith community, a school counsellor or social worker as well as peer support through existing circumstances or through different social services. These people are there to have open, non-judgmental, credible conversations with teens about their questions regarding drugs as well as any potentially high risk situation(s) - including experimenting with drugs.

This allows teens to talk about what is important to them and what they think the ongoing elements of drug use are in their school or community. This also allows for parents or other adults to capitalize on "teachable moments" with children and teens by utilizing the questions, stories or examples brought forward by the child or teen themselves to discuss positive outcomes and healthy choices.

Making healthy choices

Like anything in life learning to assert yourself and having a "script" for making healthy choices or refusing something in a highly charged situation or to a highly valued peer or peer group is a skill. As with any skill it takes practice both in discussing this strategy and in actually doing it. Just like training for sports or studying for a math exam, everyone needs to practice whatever skill they want to be good at in life. Rehearse what you can say or do in different situations that will allow you to make healthy choices - use humour to diffuse or redirect the situation, use a trusted adult in your life as the reason you cannot participate, talk about a reward you are going to get if you stick to your goal of not doing drugs, leave the situation by saying that you got a call from your parent and have to go home. These are just some examples, any technique that feels natural and you believe you can actually do is an option.