Fighting SCV’s opioid crisis one step at a time
Susan DiMartini, even coordinator and toastmaster, left, introduces the speakers for the Opioid Crisis workshop Thursday night at the Valencia Public Library. Seated, left to right, are Ali Kasra, Mindy Williams, Cary Quashen and Marc Richards. photo courtesy of Lisa Kaul, Quest Toastmasters.
By Jim Holt
Friday, January 26th, 2018

 

About 60 people showed up Thursday night to hear about the opioid crisis and, specifically, about “seeking solutions for pain relief.”

While they didn’t find the solution Thursday to the national crisis, the panel took steps in that direction simply by talking about it.

The opportunity to address both the nationwide opioid epidemic and pain management was afforded by the people who held the workshop, those at the Valencia Public Library who offered a place to meet and those with Quest Toastmasters who sparked the discussion.

One baby step each family in the Santa Clarita Valley can take toward stopping the opioid crisis entering their home was a recommendation offered by Cary Quashen, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital’s executive director of Behavioral Health and founder of Action Drug Counseling, who works with drug addicts in the SCV every day.

“Talk to your kids,” he said. “Be the one they are connected to.

Then Quashen screamed. He yelled out “I love you,” showing everyone in the packed room what they should say to their kids and how they should say it.

He also reminded attendees that their child may not want to be seen being told “I love you” — in which case the parent should scream “I love you.”

Staying connected with children before they use their gateway drug — which he listed as cigarettes, beer and marijuana, to name a few — is a way to offset the unprecedented power of peer pressure made possible through cellphones.

“The last person they talk to at night is their friends,” Quashen said about cellphone use. “The first person they talk to in the morning is their friends.  When they’re at school they’re with their friends and when they come home their friends are there (via their cellphone).”

If anyone in the workshop needed an example of just how devastating drug addiction can be, they heard it in the life of recovering heroin addict Mindy Williams, who referred to herself at one point as “a poor little rich girl from Santa Clarita.”

“When I did heroin for the first time it was with a needle.  It was like nothing I had ever felt before.  I would never be the same.

“I was addicted to heroin for three years.  I lost my husband. My life was in the toilet and I was living in my car,” she said.

She had been in and out of rehab five times, she said.

“I never thought I was worth it,” she said.

Then, her family gave her “one last chance” to get clean, she said.  She took that challenge, she said.  She’s been sober since 2011.

Opioids are drugs that possess some properties characteristic of opiate narcotics but which are not derived from opium.

The nationwide opioid crisis became a local issue in April 2017,  when at least seven people showed up in the emergency room of Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital with overdoses of opiates.

The latest statistics released by the California Department of Public Health show a sharp upturn in the number of heroin overdose deaths across the state since 2012.

jholt@signalscv.com

661-287-5527

On Twitter @jamesarthurholt

 

About the author

Jim Holt

Jim Holt

Susan DiMartini, even coordinator and toastmaster, left, introduces the speakers for the Opioid Crisis workshop Thursday night at the Valencia Public Library. Seated, left to right, are Ali Kasra, Mindy Williams, Cary Quashen and Marc Richards. photo courtesy of Lisa Kaul, Quest Toastmasters.

Fighting SCV’s opioid crisis one step at a time

 

About 60 people showed up Thursday night to hear about the opioid crisis and, specifically, about “seeking solutions for pain relief.”

While they didn’t find the solution Thursday to the national crisis, the panel took steps in that direction simply by talking about it.

The opportunity to address both the nationwide opioid epidemic and pain management was afforded by the people who held the workshop, those at the Valencia Public Library who offered a place to meet and those with Quest Toastmasters who sparked the discussion.

One baby step each family in the Santa Clarita Valley can take toward stopping the opioid crisis entering their home was a recommendation offered by Cary Quashen, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital’s executive director of Behavioral Health and founder of Action Drug Counseling, who works with drug addicts in the SCV every day.

“Talk to your kids,” he said. “Be the one they are connected to.

Then Quashen screamed. He yelled out “I love you,” showing everyone in the packed room what they should say to their kids and how they should say it.

He also reminded attendees that their child may not want to be seen being told “I love you” — in which case the parent should scream “I love you.”

Staying connected with children before they use their gateway drug — which he listed as cigarettes, beer and marijuana, to name a few — is a way to offset the unprecedented power of peer pressure made possible through cellphones.

“The last person they talk to at night is their friends,” Quashen said about cellphone use. “The first person they talk to in the morning is their friends.  When they’re at school they’re with their friends and when they come home their friends are there (via their cellphone).”

If anyone in the workshop needed an example of just how devastating drug addiction can be, they heard it in the life of recovering heroin addict Mindy Williams, who referred to herself at one point as “a poor little rich girl from Santa Clarita.”

“When I did heroin for the first time it was with a needle.  It was like nothing I had ever felt before.  I would never be the same.

“I was addicted to heroin for three years.  I lost my husband. My life was in the toilet and I was living in my car,” she said.

She had been in and out of rehab five times, she said.

“I never thought I was worth it,” she said.

Then, her family gave her “one last chance” to get clean, she said.  She took that challenge, she said.  She’s been sober since 2011.

Opioids are drugs that possess some properties characteristic of opiate narcotics but which are not derived from opium.

The nationwide opioid crisis became a local issue in April 2017,  when at least seven people showed up in the emergency room of Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital with overdoses of opiates.

The latest statistics released by the California Department of Public Health show a sharp upturn in the number of heroin overdose deaths across the state since 2012.

jholt@signalscv.com

661-287-5527

On Twitter @jamesarthurholt

 

Upcoming Events

Jan
12
Fri
all-day Domes – Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library
Domes – Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library
Jan 12 – May 11 all-day
Domes - Art Exhibit @ Old Town Newhall Library | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Local resident Naomi Young, is the artist featured in the latest exhibit at the Old Town Newhall Library. The exhibit features original paintings and multimedia by Young, an artist born and raised in Jerusalem, Israel,[...]
Feb
1
Thu
all-day “The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarit... @ Valencia Library
“The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarit... @ Valencia Library
Feb 1 – Jun 1 all-day
“The Golden Oaks of Santa Clarita,” Art Exhibit @ Valencia Library  | Santa Clarita | California | United States
“THE GOLDEN OAKS OF SANTA CLARITA” ART EXHIBIT BY BRAD SERGI ON DISPLAY AT THE VALENCIA LIBRARY Library hours: Mon-Thu 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. – 5[...]
Feb
14
Wed
all-day Tickets Available Now for 41st A... @ Dodger Stadium
Tickets Available Now for 41st A... @ Dodger Stadium
Feb 14 – May 12 all-day
Tickets Available Now for 41st Annual SCV Dodger Day @ Dodger Stadium | Los Angeles | California | United States
SANTA CLARITA DODGER DAY TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Tickets Start at $25 and Benefit Local Schools and Non-Profits It’s time to step up to the plate! The Santa Clarita City Council invites residents to purchase[...]
Apr
19
Thu
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 19 – Apr 22 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
7:00 pm Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Apr 19 @ 7:00 pm
Hart High School Presents 'Bye, Bye Birdie' @ Hart High school Auditorium | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Spring Musical Coming April 2018! Hart High Theatre is proud to present Bye Bye Birdie! April 19, 20, 27 & 28 @ 7pm April 28 & 29 @ 1pm When the draft selects rock star[...]
Apr
20
Fri
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 20 – Apr 23 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
7:00 pm Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Hart High School Presents ‘Bye, ... @ Hart High school Auditorium
Apr 20 @ 7:00 pm
Hart High School Presents 'Bye, Bye Birdie' @ Hart High school Auditorium | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Spring Musical Coming April 2018! Hart High Theatre is proud to present Bye Bye Birdie! April 19, 20, 27 & 28 @ 7pm April 28 & 29 @ 1pm When the draft selects rock star[...]
Apr
21
Sat
all-day Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival Co... @ Event Locations Vary
Apr 21 – Apr 24 all-day
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW FOR COWBOY FESTIVAL CONCERTS – Locations, Times & Prices Vary 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival offers ticketed performances and special events Get ready for some toe-tapping, two-stepping, guitar-picking musical performances![...]
10:00 am Astronomy Day @ Valencia Library
Astronomy Day @ Valencia Library
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
The Local Group Astronomy Club and The Santa Clarita Public Library present our free annual Astronomy Day Celebration. We will be at the Valencia branch of the Santa Clarita Public Library from 10am to 3pm.[...]
10:00 am Resource Parents Needed to Foste... @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222
Resource Parents Needed to Foste... @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222
Apr 21 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Resource Parents Needed to Foster or Foster-Adopt a Child @ College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222 | Santa Clarita | California | United States
Adoption is a meaningful way for individuals and couples to fulfill their dream of parenting.  There are approximately 64,000 children in foster care in California.  Los Angeles County’s foster care population exceeds 21,000 children with[...]