Former child star Corey Haim has died of a suspected drug overdose. How do we keep our kids off drugs?
This morning, we told you that former child star Corey Haim had died of a suspected drug overdose at age 38.
Stories like this one make us worry for our own kids. After all, Corey once had it all: fame, fortune and a promising future. But his long battle with drugs and alcohol took that all away.
This quote from his IMDB biography is chilling: "I was working on 'The Lost Boys' (1987) when I smoked my first joint. But a year before that, I was starting to drink beer on the set of the film 'Lucas' (1986). I lived in Los Angeles in the '80s, which was not the best place to be. I did cocaine for about a year and a half, then it led to crack. I started on the downers which were a hell of a lot better than the uppers because I was a nervous wreck. But one led to two, two led to four, four led to eight, until at the end it was about 85 a day -- the doctors could not believe I was taking that much. And that was just the Valium -- I'm not talking about the other pills I went through."
How do we keep our kids off drugs? Here are some tips for parents, courtesy of D.A.R.E.:
• Tell your children that you love them and you want them to be happy and healthy. Say that you do not find alcohol and other illegal drug use acceptable. Many parents fail to state this simple fact. Explain that drug use hurts people. It can cause AIDS, impaired coordination, slowed growth and emotional harm such as feelings of isolation or paranoia. It is also important to discuss the legal issues associated with drug and alcohol use, because a conviction for a drug offense can lead to prison or the loss of a job or college loan. Talk about positive, drug-free alternatives and explore them together. Some possibilities may include sports, reading, movies, bike rides, hikes, camping and games.
• Approach your children calmly and openly and do not exaggerate. Talk face-to-face. Try to understand each other's point of view. Be an active listener and let your child talk about fears and concerns while not interrupting or preaching. Establish an ongoing conversation rather than giving a one-time speech. It is also important that you set an example and avoid contradictions between your words and actions. To help your child deal with peer pressure, act out various situations in which one tries to convince the other to take drugs and come up with at least two ways to handle each situation.
• As parents, be alert to changes in your child's mood. Drug use may cause your child to become more irritable, secretive, withdrawn, overly sensitive or inappropriately angry. In addition, your child may become less responsible by not going to school or coming home late. Watch for changes in friends or lifestyles. Physically, drugs may cause your child to concentrate less, lose coordination and weight and create an unhealthy appearance.
Our thoughts go out to Corey Haim's family in this difficult time.