Parents to discuss youth drug use
Sun News Service
TAHOE CITY ” They are circling the wagons, the parents are. Some say they’re tired of hearing about drunken dances and students overdosing, tired of their own sons’ or daughters’ experimenting and tired of hearing that their neighbors’ sons or daughters are experimenting ” when, experimenting for some means jabbing a needle in one’s arm and shooting a liquefied synthetic heroin into the bloodstream.
Because of the increased drug problem in Tahoe, parents, students and community members are gathering to talk about the issues surrounding the problem and solutions on Thursday at North Tahoe High School.
A handful of North Tahoe mothers and fathers have started talking to each other more frequently about their concerns over the apparent escalation of drug abuse and addiction among the youth in the community. Some parents have children in junior high and some in high school. The parents with the younger children want desperately to know how to steer their children away from potential substance abuse scenarios. These parents talked to Sierra Sun sister paper, the Tahoe World, but wanted to remain anonymous.
The parents whose children have made the mistake of drug abuse are now helping to educate their peers about warning signs and what they would have done now in retrospect.
Many parents with common responses like “I’m not sure how to handle it,” “How do you draw the line,” and “I’m scared to death,” say they are concerned whether or not their high school- or middle school-aged children will make the right choices. Some parents advocate using the over the counter-available drug tests if suspicions are aroused and many parents hammer home to their children the dangers and consequences of drugs ” prison, homelessness, rotten teeth and skeletal physical features, severe acne, diseases like HIV and hepatitis C and in some cases, death.
Though the North Shore’s drug task force disbanded around five years ago, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office does not take drug enforcement lightly. For that reason they are dedicating more staff ” now that staffing levels allow ” to cracking down on drug dealers and users.
“Our primary problems are prescription problems, like OxyContin, methamphetamine and to a lesser extent, coke,” stated Placer County sheriff’s Lt. John Addoms.
Addoms and Capt. Karl Fulenwider described an effort within their department to put together a team, probably four from the sheriff’s office and possibly some from California Highway Patrol, to dedicate additional time to drug investigations.
According to Fulenwider, there are several different reasons for focusing some staffing efforts toward increased drug investigations.
“The community is concerned about it, the sheriff is concerned about this issue and wants to see something done about it,” Fulenwider said. “We believe we need to do something more.”
Sierra Family Services, the Placer County Probation Office and North Tahoe High School are holding Thursday’s forum for parents and students.
“We need to do something on a broader scale,” said Sierra Family Services Therapist Kimball Pier, “to be more collaborative, more of a power.”
The goal of the forum is to help parents connect and to talk about how to combat the tendency for youth in the area to use drugs or drink.
Pier said she feels “[Parents] are scared; they are in denial,” of the amount of substance abuse occurring in the North Shore neighborhoods. She said she hopes the forum doesn’t turn into a “blame fest,” but that instead it turns into a “How do we make this ‘a big neighborhood watch?'”
The drug forum is from 6:30 to 8: 30 p.m. Thursday at the North Tahoe High School library. Contact Sierra Family Services at 581-4054.
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