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Teen’s ordeal should be a message to parents

The Nevada Appeal Editorial Board

At first glance, it seems almost humorous that a Lyon County group is staging fake teen parties to educate parents on what their kids do when they’re not around. The idea is that a few dozen teens will be acting as if they are using alcohol, illegal drugs, cough medicines, tobacco and inhalants. Parents will walk through the exhibit as though touring a museum. Afterward, experts will debrief adults on ways to help teens make good decisions.

Their premise – that many parents are out of touch with their kids – is unfortunately all too true, and there’s nothing funny about that at all.

The proof was right there on the front page of Wednesday’s Appeal in a story about a teen who used heroin and, as a result, will never be the same. He was in a coma for three months and is now in a wheelchair. There’s no way to tell how far back he’ll come from the brain injury.

While he’s showing encouraging signs, his father was very clear on why they wanted to tell his story – the consequences of drug and alcohol use are too often tragic. “We want to make sure people don’t think this is such a happy ending … Parents can’t be too careful with knowing what their kids are doing.”

To that end, we encourage parents to take those first steps in opening the lines of communication with their kids and establishing rules that will keep them safe. Those steps are often awkward and sometimes lead to conflict, but those problems are minuscule compared to the alternative.

For more information on the Lyon County event on April 5, contact Mary Boettcher at 246-0320 or Healthy Communities Coalition at 246-7550.

• This editorial represents the view of the Nevada Appeal Editorial Board.