There comes a time when every parent has to decide when to have the dreaded birds and the bees talk with their child.
While he doesn’t downplay the importance of parents having “the sex talk” with their children, City of Powell Police Officer Ben Boruchowitz is warning parents there is another conversation that must be had, and it could be the difference between life and death.
During a drug awareness seminar held Thursday at Olentangy Liberty High School, Boruchowitz told the 120-plus parents in attendance that they have to find the time to sit down and talk with their children about drugs, especially opiate pills and heroin.
“Heroin will kill you,” he said. “That’s what the conversation has to sound like.”
For the majority of the two-hour “Hidden in Plain Sight” seminar, which was sponsored by the Drug-Free Delaware Coalition in collaboration with Olentangy Local Schools, Boruchowitz didn’t hold back when describing the drug epidemic that is threatening the safety of every part of the country, even the Powell community and Olentangy Local School District.
He said parents need to avoid living in denial because even straight “A” students can get hooked on drugs like heroin.
“A lot of parents don’t come to these meetings because they don’t believe their child could possibly be exposed to or considering doing heroin,” Boruchowitz said. “That kind of thinking is how kids are able to get drugs into your house and use them without you having any idea it’s going on.”
Another way of thinking Boruchowitz would like parents to do away with is allowing their children to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana, but drawing the line there.
“If you are a parent who is okay with your kid drinking alcohol and smoking pot, that’s your business, but understand that if that is what you are telling your kid, the message they’re hearing is ‘experimenting with drugs is okay,’” he said.
Olentangy Superintendent Mark Raiff agreed that parents play an important role in trying to curtail the drug problem facing America’s youth.
“Educating ourselves as adults by coming together to find out more about these topics is important, because I can tell you your kids know a heck of a lot more about it than you do,” he said. “The kids have a great sense of resolve, and the ones who aren’t hiding things in plain sight are very committed, and it takes a village to raise the children. It takes a lot of effort and energy, so it’s important for all of us to come together on this topic.”
Local drug scene
Boruchowitz said while the heroin epidemic hasn’t reached a level in Delaware County as it has elsewhere in Ohio, it is alive and well in Powell and the surrounding areas, particularly the use of the black tar variety.
In addition to heroin, kids in the school district are using opiate pills, he added.
Many parents, however, are unaware their kids are using drugs because of the inventive ways in which teenagers are acquiring the drugs and hiding them.
Boruchowitz said while the “occasional drug deal” might go down on school property, most take place after school at various establishments throughout the area.
He added the deals are being arranged, in most cases, through the use of smartphones by means of texting, using hidden apps, or through social media.
“There is nothing you can do to completely control everything (your child) is sending,” Boruchowitz said. “All you can do is do your best to keep up.”
He recommended parents “be comfortable with being intrusive” with their children by doing things like checking their kids’ phone and checking it often.
“It’s your right, and you should consider it,” he added. “Kids don’t own anything in Ohio. You can’t own property until you are 18.”
Along with keeping up with technology, Boruchowitz said an occasional search of your child’s bedroom is never a bad thing, no matter what might be uncovered. If heroin or pills are found, it could be a life-saving discovery.
“Opiates are such the devil because it just takes once, twice, or three times for a teenager and their life is over,” Boruchowitz said. “Heroin will kill your child, eventually. It will definitely ruin their lives.
“I strongly recommend that you adopt a philosophy of ‘this is my house, and that is my room. When you go to school, I’ll search it whenever I want.’”
Contact Joshua Keeran at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @KeeranGazette.