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The Tomahawk Leader is a state and national prize-winning weekly newspaper serving the scenic Northwoods area in and around Tomahawk, WI.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 4:43 pm 
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A Letter in the March 25 Tomahawk Leader:

Dear Editor:

Your March 18 story on the drug bust at THS brought back memories of my own years at THS. Yes, pot and beer were prevalent even in the late 70's. But no one I knew took addictive prescription drugs for fun. The discovery of Vicodin in the recent raid underscores how times have changed.
Parents in the know are not surprised. None of us should be. Most of us have been prescribed pain meds and almost all of us know a child diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. We have become our children’s drug suppliers.

According to some authorities, the use of prescription drugs among teens may now surpass marijuana use. Vicodin, Adderall, Oxycodone and Ritalin are used recreationally by the athlete, the A student and the babysitter. They are used by your children’s friends.

I know this personally. My son’s best friend, a popular three sport athlete from a great family, began using Vicodin when the boys were high school juniors. After a stint in rehab, the friend was turned on to heroin, often the follow-up drug of choice.
The friend is now recovering well with the help of his friends and family, but the shock of Vicodin trafficking in our small-town schools was felt throughout our close-knit community and among my friends.

My son and daughter are now collegiate athletes. Both have shared stories about friends who have been approached to sell their prescription pain killers after surgery for sports injuries. One friend, returning from surgery had been back on campus for less than an hour when he got a call from another student looking to buy the friend’s Vicodin.

My children have talked about how Adderall and Ritalin have become the preferred study drugs of choice among many high school and college students. Their statements are bolstered by recent student surveys at the Universities of Michigan and North Carolina, one of which estimates there are more non-prescribed users of the drugs than legitimate users.

Ironically, in this era of helicopter parenting it seems the only people who aren’t aware of prescription drug abuse by teens are parents. By staying connected with our children we can engage them in open dialogue about drug use and abuse. We can offer them a safe place to turn if a friend is in trouble. More importantly, our engagement will let them know that we will be there for them personally should they ever need our help.
And toss out that old prescription.

Laura Clements
Northfield, Minn.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:02 pm 
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I am surprised that so many people were shocked about this at our school. I have been giving a Street Drug Lecture to area EMS personal and have changed it up and presented it at the Tomahawk Mill during there safety training last year. As I have stated to them there are more drugs in Tomahawk then the local police even know about. One of the problems that we as medical professional have is that we can not give that information to the police when we come in contact with a patient in the ambulance or the ER because it then violates there patient privacy rights. So there drug habits continue. What most parents don't know or refuse to believe is that there child has already tried some sort of drug use. Most think in comes in pill form. It does not!!!
Remember when you were younger and may have sniffed model glue, markers, white out, nail polish remover. Now kids are getting high from breathing in fecal matter and urine that is fermented in a bottle in the sun. It creates a gas and is then inhaled to get high. This is called "Jenkem". What can you as a parent do to prevent this from happening is get active in your child’s life. Do you smoke or drink around them. Do you know that most kids start with smoking cigarettes then beer? Soon they need something more so they turn to hard liquor then pot, huffing, meth, coke, crack. So soon they are invited to a pharm party. Pharm party? Yes a party where your kids either steal from you. They take your Rx of pills from blood pressure medication to narcotics for pain. They put them all into a bowl and pass it around. Deadly combination can and have happened. There are drugs that your kids are taking that are being made in the trunk of a car or in a motel bath tub. There are drugs that your kids are taking that the first time they take it make them feel all euphoric and loving and want to dance all night long, but the next time they take it there temperature starts to rise to a lethal level of 108 degrees. We can not stop it. You son or daughter is now an organ donor. Get involved in you kids lives. Look around there room. If you don’t know what you’re looking for ask someone who does. Remember when you may have hidden stuff from your parents. Maybe hollowed out a book with a razor knife. They now make those commercially. They make them look just like the products that can hold, potato chips, soda, tire repair, rocks, CD cases, books, Stuffed animals, lip stick, etc. Get involved in your child’s business.

Steve Taskay EMT-P


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