The city of Santa Clarita’s “Heroin Kills” campaign is kicking off its third year with a symposium and a panel of experts that includes renowned drug experts, detectives and doctors.
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The idea is to spread information to parents and teens, said Janine Prado, a community services director for Santa Clarita.
“Raising awareness, and also a call to action for folks — many people aren’t aware (of the heroin problem) so they don’t know what they can do, and it is in our backyard,” Prado said.
“We’re not unique, there are many middle class communities that are having the same experience, and we’re going to show that in our event (Wednesday).”
After a couple of years of local efforts, there’s more information available to parents about what’s out there, as well as what’s being done, said Cary Quashen, founder of Action Family Counseling.
“The exciting thing about this symposium is that we’re actually going to be talking about the positive stuff that is now going on here,” Quashen said. “The positive difference that we’re making, and the positive steps that we have taken to combat the substance abuse issues that (Santa Clarita Valley residents) have.”
The panel and presentation should provide insight and information, Prado said.
“It really is what you can do as a parent, what young people need to know and, as a community, how we’ve come together to fight this problem.
Detective Bill Velek of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station works with the Juvenile Intervention Team, and will be at the symposium to discuss what the dangers are, and how the Sheriff’s Station can help.
If a parent has a question about identifying a potential drug issue, they may contact the Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121 and ask for help, Velek said.
“Whether they need help identifying a substance they’ve found, or they’re trying to identify what substance their child is using or helping to navigate them into a treatment program that would be appropriate for the drug use or addiction that they may have,” Velek said, listing some of the concerns detectives address on a daily basis.
“Not all drug users are addicts,” Velek said. “Some are at the point where they’re a user but they may need to get an education as to what the dangers (of addiction) are.”
A doctor from Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital will also talk about what happens when a user overdoses.
“He really gives you a bird’s eye view of what happens in the emergency room,” Prado said.
There’s obvious health risks, but it can also have big impacts on a family and community, Prado said.
“We’re going to do some great informational pieces, one on social media, which I think that parents should hear,” Quashen said, “and one on trends and what’s out there.”
The event is free and open to the community.
It starts at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Santa Clarita Activities Center. The Activities Center in the Santa Clarita Sports Complex is located at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway.
The last two years there has been a standing room only crowd, so those looking for a seat may want to arrive closer to 6 p.m.
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Source: Santa Clarita News