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Community support to stem teen drug addiction in the social network

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Last Monday evening, Woodcreek High School in Roseville hosted a community resource event to raise awareness and educate parents about the modern life of teenagers.

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Doug Dransfield is the parent organizer of the event.

“The high level of alcohol use and drug abuse by teens is very real in high school and seems to be the elephant in the room that few want to discuss,” he said. “We wanted to have an event that promoted healing, health and safety. And I know we did just that.”

Adolescent drug addiction expert, Jon Daily, Director of Counseling Services at Recovery Happens in Fair Oaks was a featured presenter about the drug culture and youth issues. He wants parents to know how much they do not know about their children’s life which is a problem for the kids.

Indeed the internet creates uniform exposure to risky thinking and ideas. A recent headline in Wausau, Wisconsin features the uniform challenge of the young among us. Drug addiction does not discriminate; it also ravages high performing student-athletes who engage in drug use catching parents off guard.

According to Daily, the “not my child” mentality may be the biggest risk factor.

“The gap between what kids were dealing with versus what parents perceived is so wide,” Daily said about the parents who attended the Woodcreek event. “[I am encouraged about] how these parents started to realize how [imperative]it is to look into their child's internal world more and into their external world less. The work as a parent is to see the stress, frustration, anxiety and depression years before it has to show up as cutting or drug use or grades dropping.”

The life experience knowledge gap between parents and teens today is fraught with more risk as internet connectivity makes it very easy to embrace norms well below what is legal and safe. According to Daily, it was evident from the audience that kids were far more educated than adults on the latest trends of teen drug use when surveyed. “This leads to a wonderful dialogue,” he said.

(Listen to the top three things parents can do to facilitate open communication with network-savvy youth-video)

Alan Baker is the Co-Chair of the Coalition For Placer Youth, a grass roots coalition in Auburn dedicated to educating and supporting parents, teachers, policy makers about substance abuse prevention for the modern child. “Today, as has been true for quite a while now, alcohol is the most prevalent substance our youth abuse, followed by marijuana, then tobacco, then prescription pills, and finally everything else added together,” he said. “In terms of trends, it appears alcohol and prescription drugs are down ever so slightly in the last couple of years. This is offset with slight increases in the use of tobacco and marijuana.”

Christy Crandell, co-founder of Full Circle Treatment Center, adolescent drug addiction intervention and recovery center in Roseville, was also a featured speaker at the event. “I am so impressed by the lengths that Woodcreek took to educate their parents about drug and alcohol use amongst teens,” she said. “Being the parent means we need to be informed about what is trending with youth and take action when we discover drug use.”

Woodcreek principal, Jess Borjon, explained that this community event was the result of Site Council parents who reviewed the results of the California Healthy Kids Survey last year and decided to do something to help parents address youth issues. “We hope that parents take away a sense that they can be proactive in their decisions about their family when it comes to drug and alcohol use,” he said.

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