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Idle hours can tempt bored youth

June 5, 2011
By CATHY BROWNFIELD, Family Recovery Center , Salem News

Do you remember when you were growing up and how you spent your summer days? Now you are The Mom or The Dad, and your children are out of school-or about to be-for the summer.

Three months of fun in the sun, summer romance, suffering those teen years that are so challenging that many adults would never want to go back and be teens again. Do your children have summer jobs? Will someone be around to supervise them? Will they have plenty of chores to keep them busy while you are away at work?

An elderly gentleman talked to his grandchildren about his own father who was a coal miner. He worked and lived away from home during the week and went home on weekends.) "When my dad got ready to leave for work he'd tell my mother, 'The kids can weed the garden in the yard. When they are finished with it, they can go up the street to the garden up there and weed. When they finish there, they can go out the road to the other land I leased for a garden and weed it.'" The grandchildren laughed at their grandfather's tale. "By the time we finished with the third one it was time to go back and start all over again. We didn't have time to get into mischief."

Teens today are heard saying, "I'm bored." They are amazed when an adult tells them, 'I never let my mother hear me say that. She always found things for me to do-chores. Things I didn't want to do. And I had to do them!"

But bad things can happen to youth who are left to their own devices, too much time on their hands, bored out of their minds.

"The triggers of drug use are boredom, opportunity and peer pressure," said Kim Ford, the clinical supervisor at Family Recovery Center. If your teens are vegging and snacking all the time, these may be symptoms of a substance abuse, she said.

She and Eloise Traina, executive director of Family Recovery Center, agree that marijuana use in Columbiana County is a growing problem. Ford cited the lyrics to a song by Afroman, Cause I Got High, which blames using marijuana for messing with the person's entire life. He couldn't get anything accomplished because of his substance abuse habit.

Laurie Flynn, executive director of TeenScreen National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University writes at JoinTogether and The Partnership at's web site, "As parents, we are certain we know our kids better than anyone else. But mental and substance abuse problems can be confusing and hard to detect."

Many parents have to face the truth about their children who have substance abuse and/or mental health problems which control their young lives. Statistics suggest teens with depression are three times more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.

"Many young people smoke marijuana because they see their brothers, sisters, friends or even older family members using it. Some use marijuana because they hear songs about it and see it on TV or in the movies. Some teens may feel they need marijuana and other drugs to help them escape from problems at home, at school, or with friends," says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in a brochure for teens (

The short term effects of marijuana use are:

1.) Problems with memory or learning

2.) Distorted perception (sight, sounds, time, touch)

3.) Trouble with thinking and problem-solving

4.) Loss of motor coordination

5.) Increased heart rate.

Someone who is high on marijuana might seem dizzy and have trouble walking. The person might be silly, giggly, for no reason. Their eyes might be very red, bloodshot. Or they may have trouble remembering things that just happened. And after a while the person becomes sleepy.

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities. If you or someone you care about has a substance abuse issue, contact us for more information about education, treatment or prevention programs available to assist you. FRC is accepting appointments for both parents and/or adolescents who are experiencing issues or problems related to this topic. FRC can be contacted at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, FRC is funded, in part, by the United Way of Northern Columbiana County.



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