Pubdate: Thu, 22 Apr 2010
Source: Southwest Booster, The (CN SN)
Page: 2
Copyright: Southwest Booster 2010
Author: Scott Anderson
Bookmark: (Youth)


Serge LeClerc shared a powerful anti drugs and alcohol message at an 
event hosted by the Swift Current and District Drug Task Force.

Serge LeClerc threw down the gauntlet of challenge to an audience of 
150 people at a community forum to do something about the drug and 
alcohol problem which exists among teens in Swift Current and the 
Southwest.LeClerc, the guest speaker at an April 15 forum sponsored 
by the Swift Current and District Drug Task Force, said concerned 
community members need to step up and help protect youth from drugs 
and alcohol.

"This is a life stealing addiction, drugs and alcohol, and we need to 
fight it hard," LeClerc said during last Thursday's 
two-and-a-half-hour meeting.

LeClerc has been on the front line of addictions recovery as the 
founder and Regional Director of Teen Challenge Saskatchewan, and 
he's shared his personal story with over three million people. His 
personal story, shared in the book Untwisted: From Lawbreaker To 
Lawmaker, pulls no punches on his growing up as a gang leader and 
drug king-pin. However, he has been an outspoken proponent of helping 
youth and their families overcome substance abuse problems and addictions.

He told the audience that youth are turning to drugs, alcohol and 
sex, in order to build their identity and self-esteem.

"You don't do drugs or drink to feel good, you do it to stop feeling 
bad," he said, highlighting the fact that youth who have a positive 
identity don't feel the need to change or alter themselves.

While there is no quick fix, a strong community can provide positive 
outlets for teens during their important

"What is it that we are going to do for our children in establishing 
identity? What are we going to do in our community that's going to 
allow that to happen for them? You have an opportunity. Look at the 
numbers of you," he implored to the audience.

"There is nothing more important than taking this task on. This is 
our task. This is our world. This is our society. And it can be done."

LeClerc pointed to marijuana, which has been altered to be 
dangerously more potent.

"THC in marijuana is now 35 per cent, in 67 it was three per cent," 
adding that scientific research has proven the higher THC content of 
marijuana leads to problems such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder.

"When the brains of our children are developing the most, we are 
giving them the most addictive properties there are. Our laws have 
gone sideways, where the victim is forgotten about in the justice 
system, and it's all about the offender and his needs, or her needs."

He pointed to church youth groups and positive community teen 
activities like dances as things which will provide positive 
activities for youth to attend.

He also pointed to schools and the fact they need community support 
to send a strong message to youth that they are important.

"There is no quick fix solution," he said. "We need to support our 
principals, our vice-principals and our boards, because this is their 
world, for eight hours a day, nine hours a day. And we need to make 
their world safe. We need to tackle this drug problem."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom