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Important Note:  The Substance Abuse Ministry Training conference originally scheduled for Friday, May 1 has been rescheduled for the fall.  We will announce a new date for the conference in the next month.

When parents in your community think about safeguarding their teens from drugs, they usually think of illicit street drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.  But today teens are abusing prescription drugs more than any illicit drug except marijuana.

The statistics on prescription drug abuse are startling: every day, more than 2,000 kids age 12 to 17 try a painkiller non-medically for the first time**, and 71 percent of persons age 12 and older who abuse these drugs say they get them from a relative or friend.  Perhaps most troubling is that many teens don’t realize these drugs can be just as dangerous as street drugs, so kids who would never try street drugs might feel safe abusing prescription drugs.  

Since the problem of prescription drug abuse is predominantly one of access and awareness, Family Circle magazine and the Media Campaign have joined forces to highlight the danger zones in each room of the home, producing a printed "house tour" that will run in the magazine’s June issue (on newsstands May 12).  Additional copies of this new resource – a supplement to the popular online version that can be found by visiting www.TheAntiDrug.com/dangerzones (Information from The Anti Drug Media campaign).

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Can you keep a secret? 

A pastor asked me if he was required by federal law to report the presence of an undocumented alien at his church.  As with most complex legal questions, it depends.  There are general duties that the law puts on a private citizen as a matter of social policy.  These are called “affirmative” duties.  For example, Texas Family Code, Chapter 5, Section 261 .101(a) states:

A person having cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare has been adversely affected by abuse or neglect by any person shall immediately make a report as provided by this subchapter. (emphasis added).

Failure to report suspected child abuse in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor.  Immigration, on the other hand, is the province of federal law.  Currently, there is no affirmative duty under Federal law that requires a private citizen to report the presence of an illegal alien. 

The situation changes somewhat in the employment context.  All employers are required to verify the immigration status of their employees using Form I-9 (pdf).

Additionally, some employers of non-immigrant visa holders, such as H-2A visas, are required to report employees that abscond or leave their job.  Additionally, states, counties and cities are prohibited from preventing their employees from notifying immigration authorities about undocumented aliens.  See the ISAAC Newsletter on so-called sanctuary cities.  Additionally, those who wish to report undocumented aliens can do so by calling the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  DHS does not accept anonymous tips or reports via email.

Until next time, consider the facts, examine your sources of information and remember to keep “separating the wheat from the chaff.”
 
We value your input and suggestions.
Your comments and recommended resources are welcome in the comments box below.

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A Children’s Emergency Relief International team of doctors, a nurse, social worker, hospital administrator and dentist recently spent more than a week providing much needed medical care to struggling children and families throughout Nigeria. The majority of the trip was spent treating the residents of Ministry of Mercy (MOM) orphanage and the villagers in Otutulu, Nigeria. Full Story »

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