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Literacy is a luxury that many of us take for granted. That is why SADAG created SPEAKING BOOKS and revolutionized the way healthcare information is delivered to low literacy communities.

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We started with books on Teen Suicide prevention , HIV, AIDS and Depression, Understanding Mental Health and have developed over 100+ titles, such as TB, Malaria, Polio, Vaccines for over 45 countries.

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drug-proof your child... ^——' -*— ^—^ ^-^ limn TIC niVTMn PIT" IT it-iy-.Vi/^?i-f-ti>-'li/~lTr sinvri WORDS ANNA RICH This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. The bad news 'If I were a parent today. I would be very concerned,' says Carry Bekker. programme director at Stepping Stones addiction centre. "Drug addiction can happen to anyone - it doesn't matter how well you bring up your children, or what school you send them to." Adolescence is a tough, anxious time, say Tony Wolf and Suzanne Franks in the guide to teens. Get Out ofMv Life... But first take me and Alex into town (Profile Books), and drug use can be just the opposite - pleasurable. Is using abusing? There's a distinction between use, misuse and abuse. Jonathan Mitchell, Kenihvorth Clinic counsellor, explains: 'Many teens try drugs to enhance a good time; this is recreational use. Once the high wears off, they slip back into normal life, normal feelings. But if they reach a point where having a good time is linked with taking drugs, this is misuse. They are still able to choose not,to use. but the drug starts interfering with their life. They may neglect homework and start being dishonest. If they can't control their use. and plan around their next use. they're abusing, and may be crossing into substance dependence. Teens with overwhelming emotions are most susceptible, as they abuse to numb these feelings." Don't be complacent... .. just because you might have experimented in your youth. 'Research repeatedly shows that the younger the adolescent starts using a substance, the more likely he or she is to encounter problematic substance abuse later," say the UN guidelines on substance abuse prevention in SA youth. Even delaying experimentation is a positive outcome. ...as far as possible. You can't make sure your child doesn't try drugs - but you can do a lot towards preventing addiction, say the experts. What can I do? Build self-esteem. Show that you value their opinions: actually listen when they talk and give them space to express their beliefs, says Rob Parsons in Teenagers! Wliat every parent has to know (Hodder). This will help them feel secure in their thinking, so they don't have to follow the crowd. The younger they gain this self-assurance, the better. Be better educated about drugs than they are (and don't teach/preach). Too much info can encourage drug use - they'll feel empowered by knowledge, say the UN guidelines. Also, what's presented as negative by an adult is often alluring to teens, who feel invincible. Be wary of preaching a scarier anti-substance line than the true dangers warrant, say Wolf and Franks. You risk a credibility gap if It's too late. Where can I get help? • South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence sancanational.org.za, 0861 4 SANCA or (011)781 6410 • SADAG substance abuse emergency lines 0800121314, SMS 32312 • Private clinics Keep talking. And talking. About everything. "Spend as much time with your children as you can. create family times, like sitting down at the table - for a meal, for discussions, to play a game • and turn off the TV. Also, make time every week to share an interest: play tennis, see their movie, take them out for a meal," advises SANCA. Encourage their activities. 'Value their achievements and support school involvement," says Mitchell. Group participation, like team sports, helps. Get your act together. What you do (far more than what you say) influences your teen. 'If we use drugs, our children are more likely to.' says Parsons. This is true of legal as well as illegal drugs. Draw the line. Firmly. 'Set clear boundaries, be consistent and follow through on consequences you outlined,' says consulting clinical psychologist DrRyan Baskir. 'Love and trust your child, but don't trust the situation.' Keep tabs on where they are, who they're with, what they're doing. • Always drop him off and pick him up. • Don't let her sleep over at a home where you don't know the parents. • Make sure there is parental supervision at any party and if she's under 18. say no to parties where there is alcohol. Don't give him too much money, and make him accountable for spending. Don't clean up your teen's messes, says Mitchell. 'Allow him to take responsibility for his actions." Test if you need to. Administer random tests, says Baskir. Especially once your teen has crossed the line. Look for triggers: break-ups, family problems, disappointments... It can be easy to turn to drugs rather than deal with a situation, says Parsons. Tf we're aware of what life is throwing at them, I we can offer support.' •&•

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