Thursday, July 21, 2005

Shut Up And Eat Your Peas. Mommy Has To Take Her Pills

OK we finally figured out what is wrong with us and, as we long suspected, it's all our parents fault for letting us eat dinner in peace. In fact, if we didn't want to eat our peas, we didn't have to and no one accused us of being on the pipe.

Insisting that children sit at the dinner table at least twice a week can reduce the risk of them abusing drugs." At dinner, you establish habits that make children listen even though they don't realize it," said James R. McDonough, director of Jeb Bush's Florida Office of Drug Control.

Hmmm...Establishing habits that make children listen without realizing it. Sounds vaguely evil.

"You don't realize how much wisdom you can impart over dinner," McDonough said. Right. We recall that it was at the dinner table that our father explained to us the difference between Pilsner and Lager.

"There is no doubt that children in Florida are moving farther and farther away from substance abuse," McDonough said. "Surveys show a consistent trend downward which I believe is due to the Governor's 'Grub For Guns' program that gives kids coupons to MacDonald's when they turn in their parents' firearms."

McDonough didn't have good news concerning abuse of prescription drugs, specifically painkillers like OxyContin and Methadone, anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax and Valium.

Is that because as children we see our parents taking prescription pills at dinner?

Methamphetamines, which can cause extreme damage to the brain, and are an "epidemic" in Florida. "People do horrific things on meth," McDonough said. That explains the Terri Schiavo incident.

McDonough served as an Army officer, including combat in Vietnam . "When I graduated from West Point drugs were rampant," he said. "In Vietnam, it was estimated that 50 percent used drugs in the ranks. The rest used drugs in the barracks."

The Army began strictly enforcing an anti-drug policy of ordering soldiers to eat dinner with their parents and, by the 1980s, had lowered its drug use statistics significantly, McDonough said. Unfortunately the program had to be discontinued because the cost of flying all those parents over to Iraq and Afghanistan was prohibitive."

"People want to rise to the standards. Children also, even though they're not people yet. You parents or business owners, don't be afraid to say, 'There will be no drugs in my home or business.' Hold those values up high and communicate them proudly to your children."

But get off the Valium first.

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