My daughter is fourteen years old, and will start high school in the fall. She is at the age where she is interested in attending the occasional party with her friends. This thought is frightening in today’s world, where a host of dangers face our teen’s everyday. Young women must be especially careful when they go out. Here are some safety guidelines to help keep every teen safe when out on the town.
Be sure to only attend a party with people you know and trust. When going to a social gathering of peers, use the buddy system. The buddy system means you watch out for your buddy and they watch out for you. Buddies do not leave one or the other unattended for any length of time. If you came together then you leave together. there are drugs which are virtually undetectable by taste or odor that will render someone unconscious while they are exploited, and raped by a peer. This is the date rape drug and is extremely powerful. Stay with a buddy, there is indeed safety in numbers.
One of the most important safety guidelines parents can teach their teen is to never accept a food or beverage from anyone, regardless of how well they trust them. Drink cans or bottles of soda or water, and when opening a new can or bottle listen for the snap of the safety seal or the pop of the can as it opens. If you leave an open can or bottle unattended even a minute than toss out the old drink and obtain a new beverage. As always it is best to err on the side of caution as to take a chance someone slipped something into your drink.
Recently authorities have begun to see a new trend amongst teens called pharm parties. At a pharm party teens combine various legally prescribed medications in one bowl and share the wealth. The medication is stolen usually from a parent, other family member, legal guardian or friend of the family. The drugs of choice include narcotic painkillers, anti-depressants, and benzodiazepines, which are prescribed for anxiety. Since most parents trust their child explicitly they do not consider locking up their medications. This means medication, legal drugs, are easily accessible to teens, from a bedside table or medicine cabinet. Teen’s will also at times use their own prescribed medication, and sell or give away the pills. I have admitted many teens who practice “pharming” behavior, and they have no insight into the riskiness of this behavior.
Formulate a safety contract with your teen regarding safety at parties. Let them know they can call you anytime they feel unsafe or unsure about the situation they are in. make an agreement with your teen that you will pick him or her up if called, without asking a lot of questions, and without discussing what happened until the next morning when emotions have settled, provided no one is hurt or in danger. This is especially important in cases where there is alcohol or drugs at a party.
In the event of an emergency, encourage teens to call 911. Program an ICE number in every teens cell phone. ICE, means In Case of Emergency, and alerts authorities how to contact you if there is a problem. ICE numbers are becoming standard protocol across the nation for both adults and minors.
Honesty is always the best policy when a teen is going out it is important that he or she tell the parents where they are going. If the teen does not drive, he or she must make sure they know how they will get home safely. Teach teens to be strong and resist peer pressure. No teen should ever do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable! That little voice is your conscience and it will keep you safe if you listen carefully. When the voice tells you to get out or go home, then listen and get to safety. Everyone is individually responsible for their own safety. Until next time be safe!