Nurturing Full Potential

11 Wesleyan University students were hospitalized on Sunday after overdosing on Molly, a “pure” form of ecstasy or MDMA, which has increased in popularity among teens in recent years. Two of these students are in critical condition.

“I think that’s why it’s so shocking because it feels like that could never happen to anyone that you know,” Emma Soloman, a Wesleyan freshman, told Connecticut news station WVIT. “It’s like no one is going to overdose, you know? Because it’s so common, but then when it’s in that grand of a scale, it’s scarier.”

According to the most recent National Survey On Drug Use & Health, about one in eight 18-25 year olds have used MDMA in their lifetime.

When did ecstasy become so “common” on college campuses? How do we protect our children from unhealthy and dangerous norms? Furthermore, how can we equip our kids with tools that will help keep them safe, healthy and drug free when most kids do not believe bad things will happen to them?

We first have to consider the role that our “pill for everything” society is playing in all of this. We have a sensation of any kind, there’s a pill for that! Feeling bored? Take a club drug! Social anxiety? Insert wine/alcohol into any scenario! Stressed out? Smoke some pot – it’s natural and now legal!

If we don’t teach our children coping mechanisms, how can we expect them to cope in any other way? They will do as we do, not as we say, so just telling them not to use drugs isn’t always enough. We have to lead by example. We have to show them that life can sometimes be difficult, but there are lots of ways to deal with it that don’t include harming themselves.

We also have to educate them about the facts. Is “everyone” doing it? Is it really that “common”? No. If one out of eight college age kids are using MDMA, seven out of eight are not. Share the science. The National Institute on Drug Use is a wonderful resource.

Finally, we have to deal with the reality that most young people, however smart they may be, do not believe bad things will happen to them. They think they are wearing an invincibility cloak until their frontal lobe develops fully at about age 25. So, we need to share our clear, unwavering disapproval, which research shows is an effective strategy for preventing substance use and abuse.

Let’s help our smart children make good choices.