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The Voice of Lake County: A true teenage tragedy

Published: Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

In recent editions of local newspapers, we were informed that several of our north and northwest suburban police departments will be equipped with a drug that can be injected into the human body to ward off the overdose of heroin. 

It is an attempt to save the lives of people who overdose on the drug and try to ward off death. Sadly, one of the population groupings suffering the most are teenagers.

And all of us must be diligent and watchful and caring for our teens as the pressures start to rise.

So how can all of us in Lake County attempt to ward off this scourge that is claiming the lives of our teens?

On my radio show, "Lepek & Company," I shared with my listeners an article in a recent edition of a local newspaper that talked about skills that we can share with our teens that they may not pick up in school. It gives parents, adults, friends, neighbors and concerned folks an opportunity to “step up to the plate” and take our teens under our wings to provide them with guidance, strength, self-confidence, self-respect and happiness.

Some of the skills mentioned were: teaching them how to keep a budget so that they learn how not to be financially vulnerable and maybe “salt away” some dollars and cents for those truly important purchases that will steer them in a positive direction in their lives. 

Another skill was to teach them how to cook – a way of being self-sufficient, to build self-confidence and provide them a skill as they enter interpersonal relationships where they can be a true contributing member in that relationship.

Another skill mentioned was to help them with their social skills such as to say “please” of “thank you” as well as to help them fine-tune the skills of communicating verbally and not to rely solely on social media outlets as the only means of self-expression.

It is my theory – and I don’t profess to be an expert – that the more we guide our young people, the more we look after them, the more we respect them as a true member of a family grouping or any positive social grouping they encounter, the more they will want to be a part of positive situations in their lives.

A warm heart, a gentle touch, a hug and a pat on the back, warm compliments and endearments go a long way in a young person’s life.  All of us were teens – and those people who seemed to really care made a big difference in dealing with the pressures of school, expectations and growing up.

Better that than the ravages of heroin, an epidemic that is harming and killing many of our teens in this county. As another academic year begins, let us help them cope – for their sake. Let us step up to the plate. Let us not have any more tragedies.

Paul Lepek is the host of “Lepek & Company” from 6 to 9 a.m. every weekday on WRLR 98.3 FM.

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