Pubdate: Fri, 15 Aug 2014
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Copyright: 2014 New Haven Register
Author: Ebony Walmsley


NORTH HAVEN - After trying various outlets to reach the community 
about drug awareness and prevention, First Selectman Michael Freda 
and substance abuse advocates are heading into people's homes - on 
the television screen that is.

In an effort to raise awareness about drug and alcohol abuse, Freda 
and members of the town's Substance Abuse Action Council are taping a 
miniseries of TV shows discussing various topics surrounding substance abuse.

Freda said the idea for the show surfaced after attempts to hold 
public discussions about drug and alcohol prevention.

"Some people might have been embarrassed to talk about it or some 
might have the mentality of, 'oh, not my child,'" Freda said.

While drugs are not an increasing problem in town, Freda said the 
town isn't different than other communities in that drugs and alcohol 
are available.

Earlier this week, Freda and Mary Marcuccio, founder and CEO of "My 
Bottom Line," an organization that helps parents dealing with young 
adults addicted to opiates, along with Joanne Hoffman, a local parent 
who experienced her child's struggle with addiction, filmed the first 
episode in the series.

Wednesday's topic of discussion was "The Early Signs" (of addiction). 
Other topics will include treatment for addiction and alcohol 
consumption legalities: For example, if parents decide to host a 
party for underage children where alcohol is available.

The show will appear on Channel 20 on NHTV (North Haven Television) 
throughout September.

"If we can save one life, we think that's an accomplishment," Freda said.

Hoffman said some of the early signs she experienced with her child 
included isolation, change in behavior and weight loss.

"We thought it was a phase. We soon learned it wasn't," Hoffman said.

Marcuccio agreed with Freda that some parents don't think their child 
could become addicted to drugs, specifically opiates such as 
prescription pain killers and heroin.

"It's hard for a parent to conceive that; we all have that picture in 
our head of what a troubled child looks like," Marcuccio said.

Freda, Marcuccio and Hoffman also discussed access young adults have 
to drugs, parent education and if there is a difference between drugs 
today versus 20 years ago.

While Marcuccio said it may not be a secret some parents could have 
experienced with drugs at their child's age, but there is a difference.

"The THC count, which is a psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, is 
much higher now than it was back then," Marcuccio said.

Hoffman and Marcuccio both encouraged parents to educate themselves.

"Put your shame aside and start making phone calls and doing your 
research," Marcuccio said.

"Don't settle for the 'not my kid,'" Hoffman said.
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