In the two-hour seminar, organizers said parents learned warning signs to look for in their child’s behavior that could indicate drug, prescription-drug or alcohol abuse. The consequences, police said, could go from expulsion, jail time to death.
Kids have a misconception that because drugs like Vicodin or Oxycontin are prescription, they’re safer, Umipig said.
“Instead of going to the liquor cabinet, which is closely monitored, they go to the medicine cabinet,” she said.
Children are also increasing their danger with alcohol in other ways than binge drinking — they’re now doing “extreme drinking,” which mixes stimulants like a Red Bull energy drink with alcohol.
“They’re now a drunk person who’s awake,” Umipig said.
Newport Beach Police Sgt. Steve Burdett said police deal with increased drug and alcohol abuse in the summer on the Balboa Peninsula, when kids fresh out of high school and into college party.
“It’s a big concern for us,” he said “We’re dealing with the party and the overdose aspect of it.”
A statewide survey of fifth-, seventh-, ninth- and 11th-graders showed that many kids have used drugs or alcohol in the last year. Students’ answers were anonymous. The most recent results were from 2007.
Few fifth-graders reported using drugs, but 23% reported to have used alcohol at least once in their life.
Eleventh-graders had the highest number, with 70% reporting having tried a drink at least once, followed by half of ninth-graders.
More than 40% of 11th-graders also reported trying marijuana at least once.
More than half of high school juniors reported drinking alcohol within the last month.
More than 80% of middle school and high school students acknowledged that using alcohol, tobacco or marijuana was harmful.
The study argues that the numbers call for more education about the dangers of substance abuse at an earlier age to reinforce the message.
Umipig suggested parents should take every opportunity they see, such as TV shows or commercials, to broach the topic with their child.