Editor's note: This article was originally published on Roger Allred's blog. It has been modified and republished here with permission.
Parents should fear drugs as much as any evil in this world. Kids can recover from many mistakes but addiction is one of the most destructive and most difficult to escape. We all have seen what drugs have done to our friends. Drug use is not a victimless crime. The cost to society and to the lives of our loved ones is just too great.
Consider this – If it is OK to use one chemical to escape reality, how big of a step is it to move to another drug that is even better at escaping?
Liquor serves no purpose in the life of a minor. It never benefited anyone other than to create a chemical "high" that reduces inhibitions and creates a separation from reality. On the other hand, it has destroyed thousands – maybe even millions if you consider the ripple effect. Yet, it seems to be the common element in almost all social gatherings.
The costs of alcohol, and now marijuana, include the following
Drunk driving deaths
Life destroying alcoholism
Child and spousal abuse
Loss of a job
Loss of the trust of ones colleagues
Saying things that should never have been said
Wasted time, wasted money and wasted lives
At times, our high school kids were invited to parties where alcohol was being served. The kids would say, "It is a party where my friends will be, but I don't drink." Sometimes they would add, "Everyone wants me to be the designated driver, since I don't drink. You don't want them driving drunk and getting killed, do you?" I appreciate effective negotiating skills, but there is more at issue than having fun and protecting friends.
I think that these are self-evident facts:
1. It is illegal for anyone under 21 to drink alcohol, even though that law is almost universally ignored.
2. Parents who buy liquor for their kids or allow it to be served to minors in their home should be legally prosecuted and chastised by their friends.
Some foolish parents say, "I would rather have my kids drink in my house where I can keep an eye on them, since they are going to do it anyway." Condoning illegal, immoral, or dangerous behavior is not responsible parenting.
3. No good can come from a kid attending a party where illegal, immoral, or dangerous behavior is occurring.
4. Being a designated driver? Give me a break!
There will be drunk kids driving from a party where alcohol is served. An automobile can kill a designated driver just as easily as a drunk passenger. I told my kids that I didn't want them to be that dead designated driver.
Just because alcohol and marijuana are legal doesn't mean that they should be used. Consider the costs. Above all, consider what you are teaching your children when you use drugs, including alcohol.
Roger and his wife Sue have nine children and 21 grandchildren, so far. He has worked in many different jobs and in many different positions including a COO of a health care company, a teacher, the CFO of a feed mill, a CPA and the CEO of a power plant. In 2011, he received a heart transplant. In 2012, he and his wife hiked 60 miles in 6 days and summited Mt. Whitney to celebrate their 60th birthdays and the first anniversary of Roger's heart transplant. Roger currently works as a management consultant.