Helping Parents With the Dreaded “Drug Talk”

There is no doubt about it: Talking to your kids about drugs is one of the best ways to keep them from abusing them. This is the advice that Miami-Dade Schools Police Officer Orlando Gutierrez, a 14-year veteran, gives parents during several meetings he has with PTAs and PTSAs throughout the year. “I know it’s hard to talk to your kids about this,” Gutierrez told a group of parents at Ronald Reagan/Doral Senior High School Wednesday night. “It’s not comfortable. Sometimes we think we’re giving them ideas, right?” Don’t worry, he said. You’re not. You’re also not alone. Miami-Dade Schools Police have several anti-drug programs in our schools that not only helps curb the use of illicit drugs but also provides a safe and welcome environment that students feel they can trust. Schools Police work with Miami-Dade Police in the DARE program for fifth graders. “But teenagers have to be approached differently,” Gutierrez said. And honestly, he added, urging parents to do research and become informed before they have the “drug chat.” “You can’t go in and say, “Marijuana will kill you.’ Because they know that’s not true,” Gutierrez said. “They know more than we do. We have to tell them the truth. And we have to know what we are saying.” And you have to know that drug use today is more than just the street drugs like marijuana and cocaine. Police are confiscating more and more prescrption drugs from teens at school. “They take them from their parents,” Gutierrez said. He knows how to talk to kids because Gutierrez makes 40-minute presentations about 60 times a year to classrooms of high school students, where...