‘Open It Up’ begins conversation on drugs and kids

  • Adrienne Buckle holds up her ‘Stop Meth Now’ magnet. [photo by Gary Meyer]

    Adrienne Buckle holds up her ‘Stop Meth Now’ magnet. [photo by Gary Meyer]

By Patric Hedlund

Dialogue about “positive, meaningful activities” for Mountain Community youth exploded out of the ‘Open It Up’ Town Hall on Friday, Mar. 21. Over 70 people, from age 5 through teens, young adults, mid-career and retired mountain residents participated in the conversation. They heard tough facts about the impacts of drugs and alcohol on the developing teenage brain from Lily Alvarez, director of drug and alcohol treatment programs for Kern County: “Those who begin using alcohol as young teens are four times more likely to develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol,” she said.

Frazier Park substation Sergeant Mark Brown said if the trends of the last 15 months continue, “this will be the first year in my 23-year career that we will be investigating more use of heroin than meth.”

‘Stop Meth Now!’ Coordinator Adrienne Buckle talked about the things parents can’t afford to overlook, and why being in denial can rob parents of the ability to help their children just when a child needs their parents the most.

Madi Richardson, Alli Berry and Micah Matte of Mountain Youth Can Change Communities (MyC3) told of the youth group’s ‘Color the Mountain’ run to raise funds for a leadership training retreat for 7th graders this summer.

They told parents not to let eye-rolling and momentary tempers limit firm parental supervision when it is needed: “We want to know you are concerned about our safety. We’ll say ‘thank you’ for helping us reach our full potential,” Alli Berry said.

MyC3 showed a moving, 4-minute PSA “We’re Still Your Children…Please Don’t Stop Being Our Parents.”

Peak to Peak Mountain Charter School’s Board President Michelle Throckmorton and new principal Juan Ricoy came. Ricoy is proposing to work with PMCPOA’s Youth Activity Committee to help develop athletic programs for local youth.

Lisa Walter of McCASA (Mountain Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse) told of the 5-year program to change community norms about youth access to alcohol and of the Drug Take-Back events that kept 204 pounds of prescription drugs from the wrong hands last year. Bob Anderson asked people to come to the McCASA meeting, April 17, at 5 p.m. at the Family Resource Center meeting room to continue the conversation.

The Mountain Enterprise coordinated and Pine Mountain Club’s Town Hall hosted the event.

Photo captions:

Lily Alvarez

Kern County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Brown

Cub Scout Ben, ‘Daisy’ Riley and Mom Rachel Unell

Armida and Adriana Calderón of FFA with Richard Aguerre

Micah Matte, Madi Richardson and Alli Berry of MyC3

Rain White in the MyC3 video PSA ‘Please Don’t Stop Being our Parents’

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This is part of the March 28, 2014 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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