Parents, children and educators gathered Wednesday at City Hall to engage in an open dialogue about the dangers of drugs during the city of Santa Clarita’s ninth Parent Resource Symposium.
“As a community, we can work together to address safety concerns and learn about the dangers of drugs,” said Mayor Marsha McLean. “We must replace negative messages and peer pressure with encouragement to stay strong and have our children surround themselves with people who will create a new culture, free from the influence of outside substances.”
The Growing Together event, hosted by the city, gave attendees the opportunity to hear honest feedback from a panel of experts in health, counseling, education and law enforcement about drug and school trends, internet safety and issues affecting children interactions.
The panel consisted of Dr. Darrin Privett, emergency room doctor at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital; Renee Marshall, College of the Canyons chair of Early Childhood Education; Brenda Tumasone, with the San Fernando Valley Community Mental Health Center; and Detective William Velek with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Prior to the hour-long discussion, attendees interacted with local organizations and the resources they have to offer, such as the L.A. County Department of Mental Health, Family Promise of Santa Clarita Valley, College of the Canyons and Drug Free Youth in SCV.
Here’s what panelists had to say:
Drug abuse is preventable
More than 24 million people ages 12 and up have used an illegal drug over the past year, according to a nationwide survey presented by Privett. When considering the Santa Clarita youth population, about 10% will engage in substance abuse over the next month, he added.
“The good news is that drug abuse is a preventable behavior and drug addiction is a treatable disease,” said Privett. “I believe that preventative medicine is the best type of medicine, and it starts with education and knowledge.”
Create a healthy technology habit
In an era where smart devices are ubiquitous, it’s difficult to detach. But Marshall said it’s important to establish a healthy, technological plan with one’s family to help address issues children are facing today such as depression, anxiety and self-harm.