Of course your child doesn’t smoke or drink. But as care providers, we are working with the whole local population, and we know the stats for kids and teens in this area.  In fact, teens are vulnerable to underage drinking due to changes in puberty, peer pressure, etc.

We know that the average age kids start drug or alcohol use in our area is just under13. We know that about four in 10 teens perceive no great risk from smoking cigarettes. And we know that nearly 10 percent of kids ages 12-17 used illicit drugs in the past month.

It may not be your child, but it’s someone’s child and that child may be in our emergency room.

In an emergency room setting, we are trying to get as much information as we can to accurately diagnose your child. Children experimenting with alcohol or cigarettes or accidentally ingesting something may have no consequences, or they may have been sickened and have symptoms similar to the stomach flu.

Your child could be embarrassed or afraid to mention it to you. That’s another way we can help. We can treat your child and we are also there to ask the questions that you might not think to or be comfortable asking. We can ask the question without losing your child’s trust.

The important thing is getting your child better and that starts with finding out what is wrong, even if it is something you may not want to hear.