When Senator Jacqui Lambie stood in front of Parliament and shared her son’s ice addiction with the public, many saw it for what it was – a mother’s plea for help. This was a mother at the end of her tether, desperate to help her child, but not knowing how to connect with the drug addled person inhabiting her son’s body.
Many of us may have looked at her, thinking – I’m not going to get myself in that position, that will NOT happen to my family, not on my watch. But with all the best parenting intentions in the world, how do we protect and prevent our families from the unknown. And how do we prepare our teens for the inevitable temptations and peer pressure and teach them how to make the right decisions?
Can’t we just wrap them up in cotton wool and cling tightly to them as they navigate these years?
Jacqui Lambie is using her position to make a stand for all parents and will introduce a bill into the Senate that gives parents of children addicted to drugs the power to force their offspring into mandatory treatment facilities.
“I can’t involuntarily detox my own son, because I am not talking to my son anymore, I’m talking to a drug,” said Jacqui Lambie in her address to Parliament. “You’re looking into their eyes and there’s nothing there,” she also said in a recent radio interview. “So you’ve got to detach yourself from the situation and that’s the most difficult thing.”
“It’s going to fall on my shoulders whichever way it lands. I’m his mother, he’s my responsibility.”
Our children are our responsibility for life, but with the unpredictability of this new generation of drugs, it’s impossible to keep ahead of the curve and understand what we’re dealing with. By the time we’ve ‘caught up’ with what’s what, the devil is in the room, the risk is real, and as with the case of Ice, it’s become firmly entrenched in our society in epidemic proportions.
Today drugs are sophisticated, addictive and are unpredictable in their impact and effect.
These drugs are also dangerous, both to those taking them and caught up in an addiction, as well as those who try and help them or who get in the way.
As parents, we’ll always be in the line of fire, we’d walk over broken glass for our children, so it’s likely that it will be us who bears the brunt of the tragic consequences. Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh, allegedly murdered by his son who was thought to have been under the effects of the drug ice, shows how indiscriminate this insidious drug can be. Echoing this has been the investigation in Victoria of fourteen ice related murders over a 14-month period. Evidence shows that ice has become the ‘drug of choice’ among criminals and its usage is widespread and rife.
What we hear about in the media is only the tip of a very large and very disturbing iceberg.
The fundamental problem with ice and meth is they create irrational behavior in users. Those using the drug feel superhuman and their ice binges can become long and devastating in their impact. Moreover the ease and speed with which ice can be manufactured has contributed to its rapid spread.
According to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre use of crystal methamphetamine (“ice”) among injecting drug users has jumped by 52 per cent in the past 10 years and the number of accidental deaths has increased significantly from 88 deaths in 2011 to 170 deaths in 2013.
Our teenagers are growing up in a world where manufactured drugs are ever present – both in the media, and potentially in their worlds; they’re indirectly exposed to drugs earlier than we could ever fear. This is their reality, yet we know so little of it.
As parents we are on the back foot and we rely on the maturity of our teenagers to protect themselves, before we’re even aware they’ve had to.
So it’s time to step up and prepare ourselves so we’re ready at the same time our teenagers need us to be. There is a plethora of information available – it’s our responsibility to read, to be informed and to be ready. And when the time feels right, it’s time to talk with our teens, to pass on our knowledge, to instill our values and to arm them with an understanding of consequences.
It’s time to coach them about handling peer pressure, providing the right words to get them out of a wrong situation, and to offer them an unwavering lifeline, and hope they won’t need it.
We can learn from Jacqui Lambie. She’s shown us how devastating a drug addiction can be, and through her selfless generosity in sharing her horror, she’s shown us why we need to ensure this never happens to our children.
Have your teens been exposed to drugs? What have you done to help?