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Let's talk life ... Dtug abuse

Published:Saturday | April 17, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Yvonnie Bailey-Davidson

Yvonnie Bailey-Davidson, Contributor

  • Drug abuse

Dear Counsellor:

My 34-year-old daughter is having a drug problem. She uses ganja and cocaine. She roams the street, can't keep a job and sells my household goods. I need some help for her.

- Carole

Dear Carole:

Substance abuse and misuse is a problem in Jamaica. Many people, old and young, get caught in the web of deceit to maintain their drug habits. There are treatment facilities to help people kick the drug habit.

Soothing sorrows

Cocaine is highly addictive and causes the users to do illegal things. The individual needs to be detoxified, meaning the drug needs to be cleared from the body. Most users need the help of others to get clean. To stay clean from drugs, individuals need to avoid the people, places and things that encourage the use of drugs. This is easier said than done because Jamaica is a small place.

People use drugs to soothe their sorrows and stress. Self-medication is quite popular, as they feel that they are becoming independent. Drug use usually starts as a minor issue, being introduced by friends or family.

Cocaine can cause various medical problems as well as psychological problems. Some individuals become afraid, panicky and have auditory or tactile hallucinations. Many people start the use of drugs to calm anxiety and depression as well as to cope with life challenges.

Individuals need coping strategies to deal with the trials and problems of daily life. We need to celebrate our successes and triumphs over failures. Failures should be seen as temporary setbacks and we need to look positively to the future. One needs to assess one's strengths and achievements.

Individuals can successfully kick the drug habit and should endeavour to do so. People should not experiment with substance abuse because drugs are very addictive and it will be difficult to stop. The lives of many people have been ruined because of drug abuse, a lesson to others not to get hooked.

Contact the National Council on Drug Abuse at 2 Melmac Avenue, Kingston 5; telephone: 926-9002-4. Officials there can inform you of intervention groups to help her tackle the addiction.

  • Problem child

Dear Counsellor:

I have a 16-year-old daughter who refuses to follow my rules. She wants to come and go as she pleases. She does little schoolwork and doesn't do homework. I need help.

- Millicent

Dear Millicent:

The teenage years can be filled with turmoil and problems. Parenting a teenager can be challenging and taxing. The teenager is no longer a child, but is not yet an adult. Teenagers want to set their own rules and are risk takers. They don't want to face the consequences of their actions. They are defiant at times and very oppositional.

As you may have realised, adolescence is a time of rapid development. It is the time when friends of the opposite sex are important. Teenagers want to follow each other and join the crowd. Peer pressure can be both good and bad.

You need to take your daughter for counselling, as she needs to learn to set goals, accept limits and conform to rules. The counsellor will seek to identify the strengths of your daughter and use that to make changes and boost her self-esteem.

Going to high school is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and your daughter needs to make good use of her time and academics. She needs to make a commitment and promise herself to improve her behaviour and her academic performance.

Teenagers need to be taught study skills and examination techniques. Sometimes there are physical causes for the change in behaviour of a teenager. We need to identify whether the teenager is grieving, depressed or anxious. Some teenagers have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or learning disorder, so it is important to get your daughter assessed to identify the factors behind her behaviour.

Some teenagers give problems but later settle down and behave themselves. As the mother, you will need help with your parenting skills and management of your anger.

Email questions and comments for Dr Yvonnie Bailey-Davidson to yvonniebd@ or call 978-8602..