Want to give yourself a little scare? Walk around a school parking lot in Whatcom County and observe what is going on around and inside the many vehicles.
You might be nervous about knowing the extent of the drug situation happening in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s there, and the more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to do something about it.
Consider the fact that teenagers aren’t just hurting themselves when they use and share drugs. They could also be making themselves legally culpable for what happens to other kids. A recent article in Psychology Today noted that teenagers can get into huge trouble doing things like giving drugs to friends at a party:
“If your child shares drugs with a friend, regardless of how the drugs were obtained, they can be charged as a drug dealer, even if they are just giving the drugs away. What’s more, if an accidental overdose occurs as a result, homicide charges can be brought against the teen who distributed the drug. Teenagers no longer have to be selling drugs to be charged and held responsible.”
Scary, right? It is. And it should be. Even sharing legally obtained drugs, such as prescription medications, is illegal and dangerous, no matter whether your son or daughter is giving in to peer pressure or “just trying to help” a friend in pain.
Dig deeper: Why teens use drugs, and what to do about it.
Similarly, The New York Times wrote recently that teenagers could be liable if a friend overdoses on drugs they’ve given them. “If you supplied the drugs or helped obtain them,” the article states, “you could be considered a drug dealer, held responsible for the death and go to prison.”
“Providing or helping someone get a drug illegally,” the article continues, “puts you on shaky ground for everything that happens later.”
The risk is especially high in Washington, which is one of 20 states to have enacted a drug-induced homicide law specifically for cases like this. According to RCW 69.50.415, anyone who unlawfully delivers a controlled substance that is then “used by the person to whom it was delivered, resulting in the death of the user, is guilty of controlled substances homicide.”
Drugs are dangerous not only for what they can do to the person taking them, but also for the risks that come with teens sharing them with others. If you’re a parent concerned that your kids are using and/or sharing drugs, do something about it. Now.
Teenagers’ developing brains don’t always think analytically about problems like the cost of sharing drugs; they’re concerned more about having fun and impressing friends than they are about the long-term consequences of their actions. Holding them accountable for drug use can help, as can impressing upon them the gravity of such actions as sharing drugs with friends.
Get involved now. Before it’s too late.