Ten-year-old arrested for drug dealing

02 May 2014

A 10-year-old boy of Colorado in the US has been caught selling drugs to his classmates. Here’s advice if you suspect your child is involved with drugs.

A 10-year-old boy of Colorado has been caught selling drugs to classmates.

Although the use of dagga in this American state is legal the school says it intends taking disciplinary steps against the learner who’d apparently got hold of the drugs from his grandparents.

The chances of your child being exposed to drugs at school are nearly unavoidable, according to the website capeinfo.com. It says that by the time a teenager matriculates they would have been exposed to drugs in some form or another, irrespective of where they live, which school they attend or how smart they are.

If you suspect your child is using drugs you must get help immediately. You can’t sit back and hope the problem will sort itself out. Learn to recognise the signs of drug abuse:

Danger signs

Physical danger signs:

  • Red eyes or pupils which are bigger or smaller than usual.
  • Your child’s nose bleeds more than usual.
  • A change in sleeping and eating patterns. Sudden weight loss or gain.
  • Seizures without any history of epilepsy.
  • Deterioration in personal hygiene and unexplained injuries.

Behavioural signs:

  • Your child skips lessons, their marks deteriorate and they’re often in trouble at school.
  • Loss of interest in sport, extramural activities or hobbies.
  • Money, valuables, prescription medicine and clothes disappear.
  • Your child suddenly insists on extra privacy, locks their bedroom door and avoids eye contact.
  • Your child is suddenly mixing with a new group of friends, frequenting new places and involved in new hobbies.
  • Your child suddenly starts using incense, air freshener or perfume to disguise telltale smells.
  • They suddenly pick arguments with friends and family.

Psychological danger signs:

  • Unexplained change in personality or behaviour.
  • Your child has unusual spurts of hyperactivity.
  • Sudden mood swings, anger outbursts or laughing for no reason.
  • Lacks motivation, struggles to focus and appears to be constantly sleepy.
  • Your child is sometimes scared, anxious or paranoid for no reason.

Start the discussion as follows

Suspecting your child is using drugs can be extremely stressful and it can be difficult to have a calm discussion about it. If you feel you’re getting worked up take a break and resume the conversation when you feel calmer.

  • Be direct and calm. The matter is too serious not to tackle head-on. Avoid unnecessary dramatics and make sure you feel calm before you broach the subject with your child. Also make it clear your main concern is your child’s welfare.
  • Have the conversation when your child is sober.
  • Ask open questions. Your child should then feel they can be honest. Ask questions such as, “What drugs have you used and how often, are you planning to use them again, how did you feel while taking drugs, what will you do if it happens again?”
  • Don’t punish your child. This seldom works – taking away your child’s cellphone for instance won’t stop them using drugs again.
  • Show your support. Tell your child how grateful you are they’re being open and honest with you. They must know you’re there to support them and that you love them.
  • Get help. It’s essential that your child sees a trained counsellor who knows how to handle the situation. This is non-negotiable.

Get help here

  • Narcotics Anonymous SA

National 24-hour helpline: 083-900-MY-NA (083-900-6962)

Website: na.org.za.

  • Department of social development’s Substance Abuse Line

Toll-free: call 0800-121-314 or SMS 32312.

  • SA National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (Sanca)

Sanca Johannesburg: 08611-REHAB (73422) of 011-673-0400.

Sanca Western Cape: 021-945-4080/1.

- Shané Barnard

Sources: ncadd.org, psychcentral.com, capeinfo.com, southafrica.info, na.org.za

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