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Sheila Moynihan and Colleen Dragan

Toronto, Macmillan, 1990. 224pp, paper, $16.95
ISBN 0-7715-9228-0. CIP

Reviewed by Susan E. Fowler.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

Kids, Drugs and Booze describes the steps parents can take when they discover that a son or daughter is using drugs. It provides information to help parents understand the nature of drugs and drug abuse and also provides tools and strategies that parents can use to help their child face a drug problem head on.

Moynihan and Dragan describe the behaviours associated with the five major categories of drug use: experimental, recreational, regular, problem and dependency. They also correct major myths and misconceptions about teenage drug abuse.

They deal with the initial confrontation and give pointers to make parent-adolecent discussions less difficult. Moynihan and Dragan remind parents that there may be some aspects of their own behaviour that "enable" (or unintentionally foster) drug use, and they provide numerous strategies for dealing with the evasive tactics a teen may employ - such things as blaming, lying or manipulating. Moynihan and Dragan emphasize the importance of direct, honest, cool-headed communication (it may be necessary to have an impartial third party present to keep conversations under control).

Kids, Drugs and Booze also outlines the road to recovery and looks at the struggle to stay straight from the child's point of view. Moynihan and Dragan point out that the basic human needs that must be satisfied during adolescence can be easily met through drugs if parents don't provide the appropriate encouragement and support.

The style of this book is pragmatic and down-to-earth. The book's reference value is enhanced by two appendices. One provides a list of drug treatment and counselling centres throughout Canada; the other lists all major drugs and describes their appearance, availability, physical and emotional effects, withdrawal symptoms, and so on.

To keep things personal and practical, most chapters are supported by checklists and "action guides" for parents to fill in. This will help them analyze their situation and make plans to solve problems. The step-by-step approach forces parents to examine many different aspects of family life.

Susan E. Fowler, Centennial S. S., Belleville, Ont.
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