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Parenting Matters: Resources help curb drug abuse

Karen Jarczyk, prevention director at 360 Youth Services
Dawn Neylon of 360 Youth Services and Sgt. Mark Ksiazek of the Naperville Police Department  put on an Interface Team at Neuqua Valley High School.  |  Submitted

“Parenting Matters!” is courtesy of the Collaborative Youth Team, a partnership of 24 youth and family service organizations and agencies. Each month, a different partner will offer practical tips for restoring balance within our families and for building resiliency in our youth. This month’s column is shared by Karen Jarczyk, prevention director for 360 Youth Services.

As parents, we all want to support our children in making healthy choices. We’d like access to information about how we can best attempt to keep our kids healthy and drug free.

Finding time to go after the information, well, that isn’t so easy! Knowing where to look, that is another issue. Ever feel like you need a personal assistant? Well the good news is, some of the work has been done for us. Here are two simple, proactive, and powerful tools to help us make the most of our parenting power.

1. Parents Use Your Power is a community-wide substance abuse prevention campaign. Realizing we are all so busy, this campaign supports and empowers parents in the privacy of our own homes, any time day or night, and takes five minutes a month.

Parents Use Your Power provides parents of sixth- to 12th-graders with practical Parenting Power Tips. Monthly materials will direct us to a newsletter providing information and resources related to parenting with prevention in mind. In day-to-day life, we can, if we choose, apply what we learn within our families.

The more we get involved, reading and applying the Parenting Tips, the more benefits for our family!

The more parents get on board, the stronger our community becomes!

2. Check out the Parent Resources on www.thepowerofchoice.info

Let’s decide to boldly go after the information that could support us in our most important role.

Not sure what you need to know? Not a problem.

The resource page provides information, links and connections to people who can help, regarding a range of topics from prevention/education, to intervention/treatment, and recovery. Hopefully, there is something to empower us all, no matter where we are as a parent and no matter what is happening in our families.

Here is just a sample of the topics covered:

Local laws/ordinances regarding curfew, underage use and hosting liabilities

Safe disposal of prescription and over-the-counter medications

Drug information and warning signs

Parent information and newsletters

How to report a concern

I think or know my child is using

Local resources

Where can families get support

Support for recovery

There is a lot to learn on the website. Our sons and daughters can check out the student sections of the website as well.

Finally, October is Overdose Awareness Month. Safely disposing expired or unused prescription medication is a critical step we all can take in helping protect our children and teenagers. Bring your unused or expired medications to one of these drop off points:

Naperville Fire Station 4, 1979 Brookdale — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

Lisle Police Department, 5040 Lincoln Ave. (Route 53) — open 24 hours (RxBox in lobby)

As parents, the more we educate ourselves, the more we can use our parenting power to support our children in making healthy choices.

This column is courtesy of KidsMatter, Collaborative Youth Team coordinator. To access the Community Resource Guide and Partner contact information, visit www.KidsMatter2us.org.

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