Hamilton School District parents are being advised by law enforcement to be on the lookout for drug abuse in their children.
Do you know how to do a Non-Convergence Test to help determine if your child has been smoking marijuana? That is one of the techniques police liaison Officer Mark Nihoris discussed on Apr. 19 at a presentation hosted by Get Connected.
Get Connected is a parent network offered through the district. The network hosts series of informative presentations about parenting, technologies their children use, divorce and issues students deal with.
Nihoris gave tips on how to recognize and identify drugs, and the signs of drug use. He also talked about what kinds of help he can offer to parents whose kids are using drugs or alcohol. Kristin Hasbrook, the School Counselor who deals with alcohol and drug at Hamilton High School, reassured the parents that Get Connected hosted this session to increase awareness of this issue, but it’s not a widespread problem in the district.
“I believe that Hamilton is aware of what is going on with drugs and alcohol nationwide, but they are not different from other schools,” she said. “Hamilton is fantastic at doing prevention with supporting kids who are on the edge or stressed out. Our district is very eyes wide open wanting to deal with the problem, but most kids are not doing drugs or alcohol.”
Parent Mike Martincich came to the presentation to learn how to guide his 13-year-old daughter through her teen years drug and alcohol free.
“When I was growing up, one of my best friends started using marijuana and then going into cocaine, and he basically ruined his life,” he said. “I’ve seen firsthand what drugs can do, so I want to make sure I know how to spot the warning signs.”
Hasbrook knows that students who use drugs and alcohol come from all types of backgrounds. At Hamilton High School she works with students who use marijuana or illegally obtained prescription medication such as Ritalin, Vicodin, and Oxycontin.
“Prior to working at this job I thought I knew what a kid who did drugs looked like,” she said. “But now I know that anyone can get caught up in it.”
Advice for Parents - How to Help Your Student Be Safe and Healthy
- Snoop in your child’s room. “Some parents are afraid of what they could find, but many times you gain trust because you don’t find anything,” Hasbrook said.
- Don’t tell your child about your drug or alcohol use when you were younger. They see you as a successful parent, so they will say you are being hypocritical. Respond to questions by saying, “We’re not talking about me, we’re talking about you.”
- Identify found pills using rxlist.com. On this website, the numbers, color and shape of pills can be entered to find out what they are.
- See if your car insurance offers free car cameras like the American Family Teen Safe Driver Program. This can help you monitor if your child drives under the influence or has too many passengers.
Parent Resources from the Sheriff’s Department
Nihoris can help parents who need assistance if they suspect their children are using drugs. As a Waukesha County Sheriff’s deputy, he can come to your home to determine if drugs are on the premises and test suspected substances.
If parents ask for their child to be arrested, the court can order counseling and issue tickets. The ticket for possession of marijuana is $681 and another ticket of $681 for drug paraphernalia totals $1,362. Charges from juvenile court can be dismissed when the offender gets older, as long as they are cooperative.
For help or support from the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department - contact Nihoris, at 262-246-6471, extension 1189.
Parent Resources from the School District
Hasbrook helps support students struggling with drug or alcohol use by checking in with them regularly and helping them brainstorm ways to work with the issues they are dealing with.
“At school we can suggest additional resources for students and parents, but there’s no judgement,” she said.
Hasbrook wants students to be able to confide in her and Nihoris so that they can effectively help them. She offers support for those dealing with alcohol and drug issues, but not therapy.
For help or support from the district - contact Hasbrook at 262-246-6471, extension 1128.