District parents concerned about their children now can turn to family members in similar situations for assistance at a weekly support group.
“We’re just trying to brainstorm what we can do to help,” said Charmaine Langlais, a member of the local Substance Abuse Prevention Team who has helped organize the group.
The support group recently formed from a suggestion made at the Parents Against Illegal Narcotics (PAIN) group, which has been meeting locally for a few months.
“I know a lot of people are concerned with rebelling kids, peer pressure, and teens staying out partying and drinking,” said one mother who has attended the support meeting.
The difference between the two groups is that PAIN focuses on drug-related problems while the parent support group is meant to offer support and resources for family members regarding any concerns with their child.
“And it’s not just for parents. Anyone who has concerns—siblings, grandparents, caregivers—are all welcome,” Langlais stressed.
She said some of the following factors indicate a parent could benefit from a support group:
•You spend sleepless nights wondering where you child is;
•Your once happy child is now sullen and withdrawn;
•You are tired of getting calls from the school;
•You and your spouse argue about how to deal with the behaviour;
•You have considered calling the police for fear of your safety;
•You are intimidated and/or embarrassed by your child; and/or
•You feel helpless, sad, or like a failure as a parent.
“It’s nice for people to have the support from other parents,” Langlais said, adding several of these factors go hand-in-hand with drug use.
The PAIN group meets monthly to identify the drug problem, as well as to discuss ways to stop it and help those affected by it.
“It’s time for the community to stand up and say we’re going to do something about it together,” Langlais remarked.
The group draws from resources in the community, such as lawyers, pharmacists, doctors, police officers, and other community workers to share their expertise about the rising problem.
“I learned more about Oxycontins [with the group] than I would have on my own,” said one mother. “It’s been very helpful.”
Cst. Armand Jourdain of the Treaty #3 Police stressed the use of Oxycontins is on a rise in the area.
The PAIN group has had three meetings so far, with the next one slated for Monday, May 7 at 7 p.m. at the Couchiching Multi-Purpose Building.
Meanwhile, the parent support group meets every Wednesday at 7 p.m. at 714 Armit Ave. here.
“It’s a big step to come and say something is wrong,” Langlais conceded. “But for people in a crisis situation, it’s good to have the support of someone going through the same thing.
“And maybe you’ll be able to help someone, too.”
For more information about either group, contact Langlais at 274-1386.