Distinguishing the signs of a culture

I received a call recently asking if I could enlighten some parents about an east and west coast trend of a new bracelet that could make its way to our quiet neighborhoods.  It’s what we refer to as a concealment pipe – a pipe designed to look like something completely different than its intended use.  One of these – the bracelet pipe – has been gaining attention in cities like San Diego, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore, and has parents and school officials on the alert.

The bracelet pipe looks like a hand-made macramé bracelet with silver, gold, or colorful beads on them, but it is much more than an accessory.  It can be used to smoke marijuana or hide drug paraphernalia, like crack and prescription pills.  Inside the macramé bracelet is a small tube, and at each end is a cap that unscrews, revealing a small bowl with a screen over it on one end and a mouth piece on the other.  The bracelets are sold online for about $40, and are said to be used to smoke hookah, but many are using it for other types of drugs.

This led me to some other questions about parents, their child, and the drug world:  Do you know what the signs and symbols for the drug culture are?  Do you know the contents of your child’s backpack?  Their pockets?  Their room?

I had a case some time back with two teenage brothers who were who dealing drugs out of their mother’s home.  These two actually had the gall to put a padlock on the outside of their bedroom door before they left the house.  What parent in their right mind would allow something like that to take place under their roof?  What kind of parenting is it when we turn a blind eye to the illegal activities that our children are involved in?  The irony of writing a piece like this is that the parents who really need to be reading these articles…aren’t. 

At the risk of being cynical, I often take a long look at kids who wear or put the symbols of drug use on display… Bob Marley shirts, hemp necklaces and bracelets, marijuana symbols on school papers and notebook covers… the list can get long.  It’s certainly true that not every kid who wears this stuff or doodles these things is riding the Weed Bus to Funky Town.  But it is entirely appropriate to question.

Here’s another thing for all parents to understand:  Do you know that your child does not have the 4th Amendment right to unreasonable searches and seizures in your home?  It’s not their room…..it’s yours.  It’s not their house…..it’s yours.  In the end, you are responsible for everything under your own roof.  Don’t be afraid of losing your child’s trust in order to protect them.  Be afraid of losing your child to drugs.

If you have questions about the drug culture, its signs or symbols, drug identification, or concerns with your child’s behavior or activities, call your School Resource Officer, or the Fargo Police Department.  And if you’d rather find the answers yourself, there’s plenty of research connecting you to the drug world online.  Ironically, it’s right at your – and your child’s – fingertips.

(Dale Stoll is the School Resource Officer at Ben Franklin Middle School and Woodrow Wilson High School.  He can be reached at stolld@fargo.k12.nd.us.)

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