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How much do you love your kids?

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It may sound like an old cliché, but the fact is that experience is the best teacher. You can learn much more from someone who has been there and done that, than you can from someone who has merely taken a course on the subject, or read about it in a book. That’s why it’s so vital to hear what Kathy O’Keefe has to say about the subject of drug abuse in our community.

After losing her 18 year-old son Brett to heroin three years ago, the Flower Mound resident started “Winning the Fight” (WTC), a 501c3 organization dedicated to educating parents and children about the insidious epidemic of dangerous drugs that has invaded every city and town in the country.

Everyone with a pulse knows that pushers are selling poison on streets and in schools every day. However, many parents refuse to believe it could happen in their schools, or to their kids. A typical response might be, “I don’t worry about that because I know my kids very well.” Sadly, those words often come back to haunt the parents who uttered them.

During a lunch meeting at my Flower Mound home, Ms. O’Keefe was joined by Town Councilman Bryan Webb. Mr. Webb, in cooperation with other council members, has organized what’s being termed, “A Community Conversation, ‘Drugs.’”

The event, being held this Saturday, August 10, from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Trietsch Methodist Church, 6101 Morriss Rd. in Flower Mound, will feature personal stories from parents who may have thought they knew their kids very well. There will also be elected officials from contiguous cities and towns, as well as law enforcement leaders and counseling specialists. The drug summit will be composed of three parts, and everyone is invited to attend all or some of the informative sessions. The agenda: www.flower-mound.com/communityconversation.

We, as a community, and as a country, must face up to the fact that pernicious drugs have become a huge and deadly plague that has permeated the fabric of society. It’s now as much a part of the landscape as the roads, the trees and the lovely manicured shrubs that adorn our suburban neighborhoods. If you believe it doesn’t happen here, or, if it does, it could never happen to your kids; it’s very likely that you’re part of the problem.

Being a parent is a tremendous responsibility because your assignment is to nurture and shape that little ball of clay until adulthood, and sometimes beyond. Some of the most attentive and conscientious parents have been shocked to discover that their kids are leading secretive lives. Obviously, we can’t be with them all the time, monitoring their behavior and taping their conversations. Nor, would we want to. They need a certain amount of space and independence in order to develop confidence as they mature. But, until they mature, they need parents who love them enough to do whatever’s necessary to protect them.

Therefore, the question is; what are you willing to do? Whether you’re trying to prevent drug use, discover if it is already being used, or stop current use, home-testing is perhaps the best solution. It may break your heart to find that your child is on drugs, but, knowing the truth is the first step to saving their lives. Let your teens know that you love them too much to allow them to be involved with drugs, and that you will use any tool available to accomplish that goal, including drug-testing in your home.

The fact is that many parents simply haven’t thought of drug-testing their kids in the privacy of home, even though testing is a very effective means of preventing teen drug use. Especially by giving kids a great excuse to say to their peer group, that might be using drugs, “No way, my parents test me regularly.” Testing does not have to be a negative, accusatory event; it just needs to be done with an honest explanation about how you love them too much to let anything bad happen. I’ve known many parents who, to their everlasting anguish, wish that they had tested earlier.

Kathy O’Keefe suffered a devastating loss and she’s devoting her life to preventing other parents from a similar fate. The Flower Mound Council has displayed great courage in taking on this momentous challenge with her. In addition, Sgt. Colin Sullivan, FMPD, has introduced the “Identify and Notify” program, designed to target and arrest drug-dealers, while providing help for school-age users. All of this will be explained at the Saturday meeting. There are many people in your orbit who are struggling to end this scourge in our community. Do you have time to help them save your child’s life? How much do you love your kids?

Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor. In addition, Bob has 7 published books that include “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death” and “Out of Sight,” all of which can be found on Amazon.com and other major online bookstores.

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