Pubdate: Tue, 28 Jun 2005
Source: Prince Rupert Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2005 Sterling Newspapers Ltd.
Author: Leanne Ritchie


About 100 people, including students, parents and members of the 
education community, attended a meeting at Charles Hays last night to 
talk about drug use.

Several members of the RCMP, including Sgt. Ken Burton, and Dale 
McKinnon from Northern Health's Mental Health and Addiction Services 
spoke about what drugs are available in Prince Rupert, (and what 
parents should be aware is available in town) and what services are 
offered to help parents who believe their teens may be abusing substances.

While not all teens drink and not all teens who drink do drugs, some 
parents have raised concerns about young people in the community 
using cocaine and ecstasy.

Terri-Lynne Huddlestone of the District Parents Advisory Council said 
there are resources available, places parents can turn to for help if 
they believe their child is using drugs.

She said services through Northern Health and even talking to 
teachers or other representatives at the high schools are a good 
places to start.

The meeting, which was organized by the District Parents Advisory 
Council (DPAC) and School District, was held because there was a 
feeling the issue couldn't wait until the fall.

"We are concerned that our kids could be using these drugs over the 
summer months," she said. "With education, we are better off."

Both DPAC and the school district are looking at holding further 
information sessions in the fall to continue the education process for parents.

Dale McKinnon, with the Prince Rupert branch of Mental Health and 
Addiction Services, explained there are a number of resources 
available locally.

There's Mental Health and Addiction Services in the health unit which 
provides education, prevention and out patient treatment not only for 
those taking substances but for those affected such as family members.

Also, the Friendship House provides support for alcohol and drug 
issues; the Salvation Army can provide some resources; and the 
Transition House has supportive recovery beds available for women 
specifically for drug and alcohol treatment. There is also Narcotics 
Anonymous and a few private counselling practices in town. Each of 
those organizations can provide more information on their services if 

McKinnon explained Mental Health and Addiction Services has services 
specifically geared for youth and they also work with the schools, 
providing information to high school students in a three-session set.

Clearly, while the meeting was a start, there are a number of issues 
parents would like to see discussed further. Some parents would have 
liked to see more information presented on the physical effects, 
including damage to the brain, of using ecstasy and cocaine.

They would have also liked to see more information presented on the 
impact of these drugs on the behavior of people -- it's not always 
something that's clearly apparent in the same way as the stagger of 
someone who has had too much to drink.

Some people also felt there is a need to discuss how parents who 
allow teens to drink and do drugs in their homes are impacting other 
people's kids, and some wanted more information on how to keep track 
of teens out late at night.
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