Will Wooton, Director of Pacific Treatment Services, writes for Pomerado News and is the and co-author of “Bring Your Teen Back From The Brink.” PTS is a substance abuse company working with teens and young adults.
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Education is best tool in fight against drug abuse
On April 30 the Church at Rancho Bernardo held a community event to raise awareness for teens and drugs. It was good to see hundreds of people attend to learn more on what drug and alcohol abuse does to families. A panel of experts and family members of addicts spoke to the audience about their experiences in dealing with teenage addiction from a clinical and personal perspective.
Each panelist was informative and presented from a different angle. Experiences were openly shared on very personal subjects and I believe anyone with a preteen could have benefited from hearing them. The focus of coming together as a community where we can all help was loud and clear. Drug abuse isn’t a lost battle but rather an ongoing fight. Each day that we can prevent a tragic loss is a win.
I personally was not involved in this event. Other professionals did an excellent job conveying similar thoughts as I have on this topic. I did get a chance to talk to many people before and after and was asked the same question again and again — “How can I prevent my kids from using drugs?”
My first response is for parents to be educated about drugs and alcohol abuse. As I’ve stated in the past, if your kids know more about drugs then you do, you’re already at a disadvantage. Correct that by reading books, looking up accurate information online, talking to professionals as preventative care and being open with fellow parents about what you learn. Knowledge really is the best tool.
That is why public events like this one are so important. The Church at Rancho Bernardo did a great job in organizing this event and with the professionals they had involved.
Howard Baker from New Life House, a male sober living facility in the Los Angeles area, who has spoken at numerous events and groups was outstanding at telling an entertaining yet relatable story. Dr. Dan Smith, a local physician who sees addiction in practice yet also has a personal family experience, was able to add a parent’s perspective on addiction. Dr. Devin Callahan’s practice in San Diego works with adolescents and families. Safe Harbor, a women’s treatment program, was represented by Lisa Bahar LMFT. Skye Hagstrom gave a sibling perspective on what drugs and alcohol can do to younger siblings of addicts. Imagine what could happen if there were one of these held monthly, as hearing vital information and keeping the conversation going is key.
Perhaps other churches in this area can follow up with a similar event and other cities can work with the treatment community to hold open events. Bringing in treatment professionals from around California gives people an opportunity to see what choices there are for help.
There are so many great people in the community trying daily to help teens yet drug and alcohol abuse is still happening. Let’s all take time and see what we can do to help. The best treatment is preventative and the more information out in the community, the better the chances of kids making healthy choices and parents seeing warning signs earlier. Thank you to New Life House and Safe Harbor for all they do to teach this community and share their experiences.