PLYMOUTH — Tina George, a drug-an- alcohol counselor from Reading, says prevention and good parenting are the keys in keeping children from abusing alcohol and/or drugs.
George, who works at CARON Counseling, will be one of the featured speakers at the Wyoming Valley West Parent Information Program on Drugs and Alcohol on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium, Main Street, Plymouth.
George said she will give attendees some knowledge about what is actually going on “out there” in terms of current drug trends.
“I will also offer what prevention efforts can be utilized to talk to kids. We need open communication to keep them from using substances,” she said.
Erin Keating, high school principal, said the program will examine the trends in adolescent drug and alcohol use.
“This program is geared toward all parents, regardless of a child’s age, grandparents and community members at large — really anyone that interacts with teenagers,” Keating said. “The trends in drug use are changing. We see teens involved in prescription drug abuse, as well as over-the-counter drug abuse, and the use of staple drugs like marijuana.”
Keating said that oftentimes after a child gets in trouble, a parent looks back and sees the subtle warning signs that went unnoticed for a long period of time.
“Though no parent wants to think it, one must realize that children are exposed to drugs and the possibility for experimentation exists,” Keating said. “The one thing I have learned as a principal is addiction can happen to anyone regardless of social class, race, religion or ethnicity. It is truly blind to any stereotype.”
Keating said she hopes to expose parents to the current trends and give them the tools they need to look for warning signs to stop a child from heading down the wrong path.
“Even if it is not your child or grandchild, this program will give one the knowledge to possibly help someone else,” she said. “Drugs are not just a school problem right now, but a societal problem, and as a school we want to provide an opportunity to community members to work together to raise awareness and save our kids.”
Carmen Ambrosino and Jason Harlen of Wyoming Valley Alcohol & Drug Services, will also speak at the event.
Keating said admission is free and snacks and refreshments will be served. The program should last roughly one hour, she said.