Lehighton Area School District and Lehighton Area Drug and Alcohol Task Force are partnering with Drug Free Pennsylvania to present a free seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at 6:30 p.m. at Lehighton Area High School Auditorium. The public is encouraged to attend.

Straight Talk for Parents is designed for parents, grandparents, caregivers, and any other interested community members. The purpose of the presentation is to raise awareness about the increasing substance abuse among youth not only in the Lehighton and Carbon County areas, but across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and throughout the nation as well.

"Whether parents have preschoolers or new college students, there will be information for all," said Christie Wentz, Drug Free Pennsylvania acting executive director.

Various kinds of substances now making their way into schools, communities, and homes will be brought to the attention of the seminar participants. In addition, they will discuss strategies to help young people avoid these substances.

According to Drug Free Pennsylvania, the average age of a child's first alcoholic drink is now between 8 and 12 and a teenager's first experiment with marijuana is occurring at age 13.

"We need to keep this focus of drug and alcohol awareness always in the forefront and not be afraid to address or talk about this topic with our children," emphasized LASD Coordinator of Curriculum, Instruction, and Grants Tim Tkach. "We need to be a parent and not worry about being their friend. That will come later in life as we age together."

A few years ago, the Lehighton community witnessed first-hand the senseless loss of lives – in different incidents – due to substance abuse. LASD and the Borough of Lehighton did something about it.

Inviting all additional municipalities that comprise LASD to join in the effort – East Penn, Franklin, and Mahoning townships and the Borough of Weissport – they formed the Lehighton Area Drug and Alcohol Task Force.

This committee continues to bring together schools, community, and local law enforcement in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of substance abuse. Tkach describes it as "a committee with representation from all parties addressing 'The Big Picture.'"

Drug Free Pennsylvania is one of the Commonwealth's premier non-profit organizations in educating adults about substance abuse.

"This presentation is not just for Lehighton parents or adults," concluded Tkach. "It's for everyone and anyone who wants tips or help in dealing with this issue."

For more information about the "Straight Talk for Parents" seminar, contact Wentz at wentz@drugfreepa.org [1] or 800-533-3394.

For planning purposes, pre-registration is appreciated. However, it is not required. To pre-register, visit www.straighttalkforparents.org/news-events/ [2] events-archive/straght-talk-for-parents-lehighton-area-sd-/.

Additional information about Drug Free Pennsylvania and Straight Talk for Parents in general can be found at www.straighttalkforparents.org [3].