Students anti-meth DVD drama debuts
The videos opening scene shows a girl, shivering and tweaking on methamphetamine, shoved out of a car onto the cold pavement in front of a hospital emergency room.Created by a group of Truckee teenagers, the DVD drama warns their peers from wandering down the dark path to methamphetamine addiction, an experience that several of the teen filmmakers knew first-hand.Its a film of life or meth, said Peter Mayfield, director of the GateWay Mountain Center, a nonprofit learning and adventure program, who produced the student-directed video with Sierra High School. Mayfields group was one of two groups in the Tahoe Truckee area that received Placer County grants to create a straight-to-DVD anti-meth movie. Creciendo Unidos, a youth and family organization in Kings Beach, taped another version. Both videotaped dramas premiered last week at the second annual Youth Service Symposium hosted by the Sierra Watershed Education Partnership. The students personal experiences either watching close friends or relatives struggle with addiction, or their own drug abuse influenced both productions. Creciendo Unidos film was inspired by one of their own members, who was arrested for his methamphetamine addiction. It was hard to just stay home and be happy knowing that he was in jail, said Victor Cisneros, the recovering meth-users younger brother who acted in the anti-drug drama. I used to see his mom crying, said Navil Perez, another of the videos student-actors, who is a close friend of the Cisneros family. It was just really, really bad.Cisneros older brother has since been clean for more than a year and participated in the production. However, he wished to remain behind the scenes, conducting interviews and choosing the soundtrack, to protect his anonymity, said his mother, Rocio Gutirrez.The familys happy again. Were proud of my brother, he was doing drugs and he got out, said Cisneros, a 15-year-old student at North Tahoe High School. Thank God hes not dead.Natalie Grennan, a 17-year-old Sierra High student who co-directed the Truckee movie with her friend and classmate Rose Sorenson, said she wanted to educate her peers about the harsh reality of meth use. Im in recovery, so I thought it would be cool to help the community and help the kids, said Grennan, a junior at Sierra high School. I know a lot of people who are struggling with it.Grennan has been in Narcotics Anonymous for more than a year and will celebrate her one-year anniversary of sobriety June 1. Ive learned a lot. Ive gotten a lot stronger, said Grennan, who said she hopes to be a drug and alcohol counselor someday. Placer County Health and Human Services, in collaboration with California Friday Night Live Partnership, a youth anti-drug-and-alcohol program, distributed six grants totaling $10,781 dollars last fall to produce educational DVDs that would increase youth awareness about methamphetamine, said Placer County Community Services Officer Kristen Mann. There are community members taking a pro-active approach [to meth addiction], said Emilio Vaca, another Creciendo Unidos facilitator. Vaca said he thought unconditional love and family support to encourage self-esteem is the best way to prevent teenage drug use.No matter what happens, were going to do it as a family, said Vaca of Creciendo Unidos.
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