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Yavapai County Attorney Shelia Polk doesn’t sit by and prosecute drug offenders.

She first tries to stop them from ever picking up the drug.

Polk is dedicated to educating teens and adults about the dangers and consequences of drug use and abuse before they decide to try it.

Polk told Sedona Men’s Republican Club members Thursday, Jan. 5, since the founding of MATForce, use of methamphetamine has decreased dramatically.

As co-chairwoman of MATForce, Polk said our communities are cleaning up, but MATForce’s work is far from finished.

Now, MATForce is targeting prescription drug abuse and underage drinking.

Prescription drugs and alcohol are the most readily available to teens — they can find them in their homes.

Parents’ medicine and liquor cabinets are targeted by teenagers, which makes parents the first line of defense.

If your medicine cabinet contains any prescription medications, lock it.

If you keep liquor in the home, lock it up too.

If you keep beer or wine on hand, be sure you know what you have so missing bottles won’t go unnoticed.

Even if you trust your child and believe he or she would never steal drugs or alcohol from your home, still lock it up in a safe place.

The best teenagers can cave to peer pressure, and you don’t know your child’s friends as well as you know your child.

It’s also important to talk to your children about drug and alcohol use explaining why it’s not appropriate for a person their age, and when and if it is OK.

Assuming you don’t need to have a conversation about substance abuse or your children already know better is a mistake.

They look to parents for guidance and need information and support to make the good decisions.

Parents are also role models for their children.

If teenagers see their parents take only medications they need, teens will learn this is the responsible way to handle prescription drugs.

Parents who drink responsibly demonstrate proper use of alcohol at a legal age.

Education and awareness starts at home where children feel safe.

Once they leave the safety net of their families, parents can’t control what their children encounter outside of the home.

The best they can do is give their children the knowledge and tools to do what’s right.


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