The Substance Treatment Opportunity Program (STOP) has been in place since 1984. This program is a court mandated drug and alcohol educational program. The goal is to create awareness for alcohol and drug offenders, and their parents, to the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
All of these facets of the STOP Program are designed for the main purpose of educating juveniles and their parents to the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, and the process of distancing themselves from harmful behaviors. The ultimate goal is to cease repeat offenses. This program has proved quite successful in obtaining that goal.
Following are some tips for parents (or guardians) who think their child may be involved in substance abuse (this includes alcohol and tobacco in addition to illegal drugs):
Give children guidance, support, and clear, enforceable limits.
Listen carefully, because our children don't always tell us directly what we need to know.
Keep communication open and ongoing.
Be a positive role model because children will follow your example.
Teach your child what is important in your family.
Meet the parents of your child's friends and find ways to communicate with and support each other.
Continue to communicate with your children even though they may say things that hurt you.
Determine the line between being a parent and being a friend. There must be a clear distinction for your children.
Encourage involvement in healthful activities.
Consistency and follow-through are critical. You are the role model for your children, and they need to know you mean what you say.
Educate yourself about the risks for your child with violence and alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
Don't hesitate to seek help. We need each other.
For more information regarding the STOP program, please contact the Court Service Unit at 703-777-0303.