Though her son’s friend survived, she was concerned about the fate of other teens in her neighbourhood who might come across tainted drugs.
She launched a Facebook group for parents in the Westsyde and Batchelor Heights neighbourhoods of Kamloops to talk about how they can keep their kids safe when it comes to drugs in the community.
“The amount of parents posting online about this and the conversations that began were really shocking to me, how many parents we’re not aware of what was going on out there,” Delwo told Daybreak Kamloops host Shelley Joyce.
Delwo made the group private, restricted to parents of teens in those two neighbourhoods, primarily to ensure the group is a safe space; anyone who requests to join the group has to declare the neighbourhood they live in, where their kids go to school, and their kids’ homeroom teacher and grade.
The group isn’t just a place to talk about drugs, it’s also become a place to take action; Delwo said two naloxone training sessions have been held as a result of the group’s creation.
“It’s open to everybody in the community. We really encourage parents to bring their teens to it because it’s a lot of good information about what the drugs do, how to recognize an overdose, the different types of overdoses.”
Delwo also hopes to create a community block watch program to offer kids a safe place to go.
“I’m really hoping that other parents in other parts of Kamloops will start similar groups with their parents and the community, so that they can protect their children as well,” Delwo said.
“Talking and communication and education is probably the number one resource we have to help our teens.”
Tips on talking to kids about drugs
For parents looking for information about how to talk to their children about drugs, Interior Health suggests resources on both their website and the B.C. government website.
Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie said she was unaware the group had been created, but she does have suggestions for parents who want to keep their children safe.
“Have regular discussions from an early age, with consistent messages about the risks of alcohol and other drugs,” Shelkie said. “For example, if there is a story in the news about drug activity, overdose deaths or the dangers of drugs, use this as a starting point for a conversation about drugs.”
She also suggests establishing rules and explaining consequences around drug use, including getting a criminal record and physical and mental harm.
“Keep track of your child’s activities — unsupervised kids are more likely to engage in risky behaviours such as underage drinking, vaping or cigarette smoking than other teens.”
That includes knowing where kids are, and who they are spending time with.
“And finally, be a good example,” Shelkie said.