Busta’s People of the Week: A roundtable conversation about the battle to keep our children from using drugs

Busta’s People of the Week: A roundtable conversation about the battle to keep our  children from using drugs
March 02
11:14 2023

By Busta Brown

I had a very in-depth roundtable conversation with experts and parents about the latest yet oldest epidemic that’s killing our youth: drug use. Its ugly face has resurfaced and again has become a growing concern in our schools and our homes as well. 

“As a parent, it makes me sad and mad. I feel it’s a major crisis over our youth, and getting information from experts is necessary. Sometimes parents are not aware of these things and most importantly, symptoms to watch out for,” said Mary Gutierrez of High Point. 

So I went to an expert for advice:  “Watch for any small difference in your children’s personality and their behavior. As parents we must be extremely watchful of that. When children are doing drugs, they get irritated quickly over small things, they’re always tired and fall quickly asleep during social settings,” shared Dr. Donna. 

Dr. Donna Chandler Kornegay is a practicing mental health counselor. She added that children are spending a lot of money on drugs, so keep up with their expenses. If your child was mild mannered and now has aggressive behavior; that’s a huge sign.

Some reports have seen a 200% increase in drug overdose deaths over the past decade. So now parents are speaking up more than ever. “The most important piece to me is being a parent. We are not friends. I talk to my children, asking questions that make sure they are mentally in a good place. I randomly check their rooms, phones, and belongings. Also, transparency, explaining that I have made mistakes and nothing is new. It’s a different time, but the same issues,” said Krystal Jett of Archdale. 

“I believe it would be of extreme importance to have monthly workshops with statistics within our local communities of what’s going on and getting factual data from the local police department, hospitals and schools,” said one parent who asked to remain anonymous.

Some parents and schools consider Fentanyl use as the latest epidemic. “This is not a new thing. And most of the overdoses we are seeing aren’t because they’re intentionally ingesting Fentanyl. The street dealers are mixing other drugs with the Fentanyl and as humans it’s our addictive nature, so once it’s in our system, we crave it more,” said Dr. Kornegay.

One parent replied, “Law enforcement must hand down the steepest penalty for dealers that are caught. And sharing this data so that both kids and parents can see the consequences of having any involvement with these drugs.” 

Some educators are extremely worried the pills students think are Adderall or Xanax could be laced with Fentanyl. They’re worried about the alarming number of students that experiment weekly with drugs and alcohol. 

Dr. Veita Bland, MD, owner of Bland Clinic in Greensboro added, “The battle for our kids is real and sobering. We have to stay in touch with our kids. We all are so busy, but an environment of communication should be established early. Have time that you’re checking with your kids, hopefully daily, to see what they are thinking and to see what their day has been like. Make sure they know that you want to know what they are thinking and that their feelings are very important. 

“Start young and make it just something that you do, say while combing hair, getting ready for bed, having supper or breakfast or just riding around in the car. This makes it a norm that they talk to you and they know they can tell you anything. That is how you will know when there has been a change in your child early and you can be on the lookout. Yes, parenting is hard work and we are all over-scheduled, but this routine checking in with your child is a must.”

 I also spoke with the author of “Diary of a Crack Addict’s Wife,” Cynthia Hunter. She experienced firsthand the effects drugs can have on children. “We must set an example by being good role models and teach our kids the dangers of drug use and how to say no. Also help build their self-esteem and encourage them to be responsible for their actions and supervise them as they get older.” 

Married couple with three children, Robin and Brad Aust, said, “It’s never too early to talk to your kids about drugs. Parents need to step up and have a real discussion with their kids about drug use. The schools need to partner with parents in this effort. Schools need to stop turning their head and start reporting any incidents to the media on drug use in the schools. They need stricter rules and enforce them.” 

Licensed clinical social worker, Brandon Diggs Williams, shared, “If we leave them hungry, they will eat any old scraps that are offered to them. These scraps show up as locking in with negative people, cultivating survival habits that don’t work in times of peace, and self-medication (substance use) just to feel okay or feel something. If we keep our kids and community filled with love, inspiration, safety, and connection with God … they’ll be too full to fit in the things the world will offer that are not good for them. Something is better than nothing. Keep the kids full so they won’t eat from the wrong plate.”

Dr. Donna Chandler Kornegay couldn’t agree more, but advised parents to have a supportive approach. “Don’t be hypercritical or judgmental. Just let them know you’re here to support them and get through this together. Be a parent that is there to save his or her child.” 

I asked Dr. Kornegay to share resources for parents and youth. “A wonderful website is NAMI, and you can reach them by phone at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), and SAMSA. They deal with substance abuse and mental health disorders. Or reach out to your local facilities as well.” 

For more info and to contact Dr. Donna Chandler Kornegay, email or call 919-800-1185. Dr. Veita Bland can be reached at Bland Clinic, 336-373-1557. 

I would like to give a huge thank you and appreciation to all of my phenomenal Persons of the Week. 

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