Chesterton Tribune

Reeder: Parents must act to stop the drug contagion

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At his last meeting as a member and the president of the Chesterton Police Commission, Jim Reeder offered these thoughts on the drug problem in Duneland:

ďAt last monthís Chesterton Police Commission meeting Joe Wagner attended as a private citizen and asked me, this yearís president, a tough question. He asked what we can do to confront the drug problem in Chesterton. As a police officer I had been asked that question many times during my career, but I have to admit when Joe asked me this question at the meeting I was lost for words, and I feel I didnít give him a good enough answer. One solution Joe offered was we need more police officers in Chesterton, which we most certainly do, but more police alone will not solve the drug problem.

ďFirst we have to admit that we have a drug problem, which we most certainly do. Secondly we have to decide what we are going to do about it and what will our course of action be. Unfortunately, I do not have the answer, our local and state governments donít have the answer, even the federal government with all their resources donít have the answer. But I do know this from being a parent and my 22 years at the Sheriffís Department as a police officer, a detective, and working undercover with the Drug Task Force: the first line of defense is the home.

ďAs the recent anti-drug campaign states, drug prevention begins in the home. You have to ask where they are going, who they are going with, when they are returning, and check up on them. You have to know who they are with, and make it a point to know the families of their friends, and donít be afraid to tell your kids No, I donít approve of this person and you will not associate with them.

ďI canít tell you how many times Iíve encountered parents who refused to listen or look at the evidence against their kids, and remained in a state of constant denial, whether it involved drug-related incidents, alcohol, or other types of contacts or offenses, until it was too late. Far too many parents have the my-son-or-daughter-would-never-do-this mentality, just donít want to be involved or are afraid to make the kids angry by saying No.

ďEven in the most caring and disciplined families the drug problem still occurs, but meeting the issue head on and not dodging it or avoiding the issue is the only way to confront it. We all know of success stories here in our community of kids who got involved with drugs, then successfully kicked the habit. In every instance I know of it was done by one common element: parental involvement, having the guts to admit their kid has a problem and doing something about it. Does it work every time? No, but we have to start somewhere and that somewhere has to be in the home.Ē


Posted 3/11/2005