Students and parents discuss drug use
FRISCO – Like any high school, the pattern of drug use runs the gamut at Summit High.”There is almost always some kind of initial experimentation with alcohol and pot,” said Kate Glerup, Summit High School counselor.Glerup says there are kids who simply experiment, then choose not to use drugs or alcohol at all. There are kids who randomly drink or smoke marijuana, mostly at parties, and there are kids who smoke on a daily basis. “And then there are kids who progress quickly and clearly have a problem with drugs and alcohol abuse,” she said.Thursday, kids, parents and professionals will talk about the drug use among kids and families in Summit County. The Summit County Drug-free Community Coalition is presenting the panel discussion, called Voices of Strength, from 6-8 p.m. at Frisco Town Hall’s council chambers.Jeanie Ringelberg, executive director of Summit Prevention Alliance, hopes the discussion will increase community awareness and education about drug use and abuse.”Summit Prevention Alliance can present our data, but there’s nothing more convincing than stories from the students and parents themselves,” Ringelberg said.One of the kids on the panel attends a Monday night young people in recovery meeting at Colorado West Mental Health. Tony (who prefers not to use his last name but will also be part of the panel) is an adult involved in the group, which has 15-20 people who attend, with an average age of 23-25 – the youngest being 15.”It’s growing big, mostly by word of mouth,” he said. “There’s a better way to live than just getting high and drunk, and I think kids are beginning to realize that.”He encourages kids to find ways to have fun in sobriety, saying if they put as much effort into sobriety as they did into getting high, they’ll have “the best life ever.” But he realizes there aren’t a lot of things for kids to do in Summit County once the sun goes down.Kids in Summit also face the challenge of living in a transitory, laid-back ski town, which sometimes translates to “party town.””The transitory nature of the industry feeds into the attitude that this is the time to come party for three months and then go get a real job,” Glerup said. “And then if you have a 16-year-old who interacts with this 23-year-old who is going wild, which happens a little easier in a small mountain town – think Mardi Gras or Ullr Fest – then that can be a dangerous combination.”On a positive note, since Summit County is so small and “everyone knows everyone,” it’s often harder for kids to get away with things, Glerup said.She says the panel discussion is a great place to hear what is really going on in the community.”I believe that drug and alcohol abuse affects every aspect of life here in Summit County, whether it is a drunk driver or an employee who is hungover and can’t make it to work, to a party held at your house where a 15-year-old almost dies from alcohol poisoning. We are all affected in some way by this issue. This is the place to find out what is going on and for a person to decide if they can be a part of the solution.”Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at email@example.com.Voices of StrengthWhat: A panel on the challenges and opportunities to prevent and treat drug use among youth and families in Summit CountyWhen: 6-8 p.m. ThursdayWho: Rep. Gary Lindstrom as panel moderator; students, parents and service providers will be on the panel.Where: Frisco Town Hall council chambersCost: Free
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