Parents learn to prevent drug abuse in kids

November 04, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Debra Stull, Susan Fajardo and Diane Harris are among more than 30 Waynesboro-area parents enrolled in workshops aimed at helping their children find a safe passage through adolescence.

The goal of the sessions is to help parents keep their children away from alcohol and drugs during those dangerous growing-up years, said Elaine Shughart, elementary guidance counselor for the Waynesboro Area School System.

Shughart and Thomas Rocks, director of pupil services, are leading the Parent-to-Parent sessions, one for parents of children in preschool to grade five and another for those with children in grades five through eight.


The program was created by Bill Oliver of Atlanta, a businessman who became an anti-drug lecturer after his daughter got involved in the drug culture.

The focal point of the workshops are peer-driven training lectures. One of the three includes video lectures delivered by Oliver, followed by discussion among the parents led by Shughart and Rocks. The program has been used by more than 1,500 schools, community and church groups and law enforcement agencies.

Oliver calls drugs and alcohol "the enemy, the root cause of all violence in America." He said children start to be influenced by the drug culture as early as the fifth grade.

Harris, who has an 8-year-old child in school, opened the post-video discussion in Tuesday's session at Summit Elementary School saying she worries about her daughter in her small-town neighborhood.

"There was a big drug bust there last summer," Harris said.

Stull, whose children are 9, 8 and 3, said she suspects that people in the neighborhood use drugs.

"I'm here because I have a deep concern for my children. It's scary for them to be growing up with all those traps out there," said Fajardo, whose children are 6, 8, 11 and 13.

"We can't be with our children all the time. I'm more scared now that one is in middle school because she's away from me more," Fajardo said.

She said she was at a field hockey game recently sitting next to a high-school-age boy and girl. The boy was smoking a cigar, was boasting about it, then asked the girl if she ever smoked or wanted to try it. The girl said she never wanted to try smoking because she was afraid she might get addicted.

"I listened to her being strong and I wanted to cheer her. She was doing everything right," Fajardo said.

In his video, Oliver urges parents to be on guard against changes in their children's demeanors and "intervene the minute you see a change in attitude. Put yourself in the way. Tell your child it's unacceptable in this family and that you won't have it."

The free workshops are given each spring and fall, Shughart said. This year they are being held at Summit View and Mowrey elementary schools.

There is still time to enroll by calling one of the schools, Shughart said.

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