Letter to the Editor

Lots of important April promotions

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

To the editor

It is not often that the same month highlights a number of truly vital causes. I'm not speaking of promoting cumquats, skiing naked or stuffing one's face with 300 little smokies in record time. No, I'm bringing to your attention three important things that are promoted in April: Alcohol Awareness, Child Abuse Prevention and the "Mind Your Meds" campaign.

After the long history of alcohol use/abuse in the United States (and the world, for that matter) you'd think there would be such a realization of how detrimental this substance can be for folks of any age. Well, think again. We continually find new brews and enhanced spirits to tickle our fancies and enhance our social status. Unfortunately, those who over use or abuse these adult beverages tend to also want to have children, and there the problem reaches a whole different level. Simply put, alcohol, drugs, and childbirth do not go together. But the facts are that a million or so soon-to-be-mommies drink alcohol/use illicit drugs before giving birth. That's just the picture here in the United States. Why risk it? Follow the advice of your medical professional. Your child will thank you some day.

Then there's the ever present frequency of child abuse. Whether it be Iowa, or California, the numbers keep going up and the violence gets increasingly graphic (thanks to social media, and our penchant for the seamier side of life). April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. I sit on the Foster Care Review Board (a citizens panel comprised of folks wanting to see that kids in the foster care system get the best care possible). Most of the children in foster care are there due to poor treatment from their parents. That can come in the form of denying critical care, lack of supervision, inadequate parenting skills, or physical/sexual abuse. It is heartbreaking to see how poorly some children fare in their own homes. Sometimes the State of Iowa doesn't do so well by them, either. But for the most part, removing the child and having him/her experience the love and care of foster parents is well worth the effort. For me, seeing how many of these situations could have been prevented had the parents not chosen alcohol or other drugs provides some degree of hope. We need to keep driving home the message that children deserve better than the specter of chemical abuse in their lives. A chemically altered state of mind does not a good parent make. Kids deserve so much more from those who profess to love them!

The final leg in this tripod is a little number known as "Mind Your Meds." I've only seen a couple of television ads on the matter, but the gist of it seems to be that one needs to keep items such as prescription medications under lock and key. Even in your own bathroom, someone within the family, or a guest, may be tempted to help themselves. Unwittingly and unwillingly you've become an accomplice in the abuse of a legal/illegal substance. Hard to picture, easy to overlook, but vigilance helps prevent heartache. There you have it. Be well!