Group on lookout for pot use by youth

Linda Jones, left, and Lil Poling, members of Parents Advocating Community and Teens, or PACT, peruse a pamphlet promoting their cause, “Stop teens on Pot.” Group members are parents trying to spread the word to other parents about signs of marijuana use by children.

A local group working to prevent marijuana use by children has a recommendation for parents who suspect their children are using pot: Don’t dismiss the thought or minimize it.

“We want to educate kids and parents. That’s the only way anything can change,” said Linda Jones, a member of PACT,  or Parents Advocating Community and Teens.

PACT’s goal is to speak to as many community groups and schools as it can about the warning signs that children are using the drug. They also offer advice on how to swiftly follow up on ways to help curb drug use.

PACT recently spoke at one local school and hopes to speak to many more.

“Even a little pot by a kid with an addictive personality can grow into an addiction,” said Lil Poling, another group member. “I think a lot of people have that mentality that it’s only a little pot.”

Group members suggest parents first have children screened for drug use through a urinalysis. The tests can be ordered online, or several agencies in Grand Junction provide the services to the public.

“Before you test them, you have to decide what consequence am I absolutely going to enforce,” Jones said. “You have to follow through. Decide what you’re going to do and stick to it.”

Several indicators that children may be heavily into drug use include a loss of interest in their regular activities, having disrespect for rules and authority, being secretive about activities and friends, lying and generally being apathetic about life.

Group members encourage parents not to be naive about places where children may hide drugs. That could be in the tip of a pen cap or under a mattress.

“If you suspect your child is using, they probably are,” Poling said.

For information about PACT and presentations,  e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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