Helping youth learn how to make wise choices about drugs and alcohol use will be the topic of the Community Drug and Alcohol Seminar to be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 21 at the Lehighton High School auditorium.
That night, parents will learn the signs to look for if they suspect their child is abusing drugs and alcohol. Also invited to attend are educators, community groups, politicians and members of the community.
Chairing the program is Tim Tkach, principal at Lehighton High School and Jamie Drake, treatment program manager for Carbon-Monroe-Pike Drug and Alcohol Program. The program will feature Janene Holter, information specialist with the Attorney General's office; and Gary Dobias, District Attorney for Carbon County.
Only adults will be admitted into the seminar.
Tkach said he is committed to bringing information and education to Carbon County since four drug overdoses have resulted in four deaths to young people within the district in the last six months.
All of them were former students of Lehighton Area High School. Three who died were members of the class of 2009.
"We're inviting everyone to come – educators, community members, parents, commissioners," stressed Tkach.
The alcohol and drug prevention program will strive to educate parents and others about the risks associated with alcohol use, communicate clear messages about the consequences of underage drinking.
Registration is not required.
The fact that there are parents who condone basement parties where youngsters are allowed to drink concerns Tkach.
Drake added that many times the youngsters bring drugs to parties and mixing drugs with alcohol can be deadly.
"It is not OK for kids to drink," said Drake. "They are minors and they have to learn how drinking or drug use will impact their future."
Tkach said that today's youngsters have taken the drugs and alcohol issue to the next level and that is why there are deadly outcomes.
"We are going to do our part and get drug testing passed in the school," said Tkach. "Drug and alcohol use in kids is not just a school problem or a home problem, it is a problem in the community, too."
Drake said that once a kid becomes addicted to drugs, they begin changing.
"First they will sell off their stuff, such as video games, then things around the house will go missing and then they begin stealing at Walmart to support their habit."
She said that within weeks a drug problem will require about $100 a day to stay high. She added that once a teen is addicted their brain development stops.
"If they are 14 when that happens, then their brain will always be that of a 14-year-old," added Drake.
Drake said that is usually when the problem surfaces, such as stealing.
"There is no one fix for all," said Tkach. "We need everyone to work together. We need the community, church organizations, parents, community groups, the school and parents to get involved."
The presentation will include a video clip on aspects of drug and alcohol abuse that was created in the science classes by the students at the high school. The video includes statistics and graphic photographs of drug use.