Homes That Make A Difference

A Guide for Jamestown and North Kingstown Parents
on How to Offer Our Children a Safe and Supportive
Substance Free Environment

Project Statement

All parents are concerned about the alarming increase in tobacco, alcohol and drug use among our children as well as the social acceptability of this use. Children need to be able to feel that it is "OK" not to participate in tobacco, alcohol and drug related activities. Adolescence is a time of testing limits. It's a difficult time for parents as well. Parents need to know that they are not alone when they take a stand against cigarette, alcohol and drug use. One way to do this is becoming involved with the Homes That Make A Difference Project and signing the Parent Promise.

Why Do We Need This Program?

Tobacco, alcohol and drug use by our children is a problem in Jamestown and North Kingstown. We have seen the results of the SALT Survey. We hear this from every responsible support group.

Facts About Substance Abuse in Children

There are a lot of peer pressures on children to try cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.
  1. * In Rhode Island, the average age a child has his or her first alcoholic drink is 12.5 years old.
  2. 1/3 of our nations youth are considered problem drinkers. Adolescents become chemically dependent in only 5 months with overuse of alcohol. In contrast, chemical dependence in adults can take 3 to 5 years.
  3. ** In 1999, 2125 U.S. teens aged 16-20 died in alcohol related incidents.
  4. *** In a Michigan study, 21 percent of eighth graders will have an alcoholic drink in a 30 day period. 49 percent of 12th graders will have a drink in a 30 day period. (Source: * RI SALT Survey 2000, ** MADD Statistics and *** Infofax 2001.)

Legal Aspects

In the state of Rhode Island, drinking under the age of 21 is against the law. Driving while intoxicated is a criminal offense. Use or possession of illicit drugs in a criminal offense. Any person who delivers, sells, or gives alcohol to a minor is subject to a fine or imprisonment under the law. If you serve minor children other than your own in your home, you are responsible and can be held liable for that action and any resulting problem. You are responsible for any illegal behavior of your minor children regardless of whether or not they have used drugs or alcohol.

Why Participate?

In Jamestown and North Kingstown, many parties are spur of the moment occurrences when parents are not at home. Children may bring cigarettes, alcohol and illegal drugs to friends' houses. When they drink or take drugs the situation can get quickly out of control. Homes can be damaged and children can get hurt. When teens drink and drive, tragedy can occur. Unsupervised spontaneous parties do happen here. The "Homes" Project is an effort to empower parents to network together to offer a safe environment for their children while providing some much needed peer support for parents.

Who Should Participate?

All Jamestown and North Kingstown parents with children in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade are asked to participate in this program. Parents should educate themselves with current tobacco, alcohol and drug information. The earlier parents discuss these facts with their children, the more likely a problem will be averted. We hope to have 100% of the parents signed up by the time their children enter high school. We want our children to understand that we, as parents, are taking the initiative to deal with the problems of substance abuse by our children.

Parental Peer Support

As a "Homes" parent you will have the support of many parents ready to "stand up and be counted on" for responsible parenting. You won't be the "only parent" to ask the who, what, when where and what time questions all children hate their parents to ask. When you call another "Homes" parent, your questions will be met with understanding and support.

Family Communication

Family communication is one of the most important aspects of the "Homes" Project. Fun does not have to mean tobacco, alcohol or illegal drugs. Inform your children that you have joined the "Homes" Project and discuss it with them. Get to know the friends of your teenagers and their parents. Know what their friends' parent believe about cigarettes, alcohol and illegal drugs. Know where your children are and let them know where you are. Establish curfews. Be awake or awakened by a check-in hug when your teens come home at night.
When your children are invited to a party or activity, call the person in charge of the party or activity to verify the occasion and location. Check on adult supervision. Make sure it is substance free. If the activity seems inappropriate, express your concern and keep you child home. Look for alternative activities.

As a Host Parent...

When you are the host parent of a party or activity, be a visible host. Make sure there is enough supervision. Ask another parent for help ahead of time if you need it. Establish ground rules. Keep it tobacco, alcohol and drug free. Call the parents of any child that you think is drunk or brings alcohol or drugs. Don't let any child leave if you feel they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Take and hold the car keys of everyone driving and return them at the end of the night. Don't allow children to leave the party and return.


Parents are the Best Anti-Drug!

For more information you can contact:

Homes That Make A Difference
C/O Task Force Coordinator
P.O. Box 377
Jamestown, RI 02835
(401) 423-3317
email: Task Force Coordinator

Sponsored by:
Jamestown Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force
North Kingstown Working Together For Wellness Task Force
Jamestown Parent Teacher Organization
North Kingstown High School PTSO
Jamestown Police Department
North Kingstown Police Department