A Life-Saving Night

 

Before you leave for vacation, or settle in for stay-cation, please mark your calendars for March 31: The Power of Prevention: Success Stories and Strategies for Healthy Teen Years. The event is hosted by the RAM Council, an organization built around New Canaan students who lead substance-free lives.

I’ll be speaking on a diverse panel (see flyer below). We’ll each address substance abuse through a different lens.  I will share my story of watching a loved one struggle through addiction and recovery. Several other panelists have personal stories to share as well.

RAM Council president, Joyce Sixsmith, said the goal is to make the threat and pain of addiction real:  “…if we recounted stories that brought to life how heroin has affected families it could make a difference.”

You can read more about RAM and Power of Prevention in this New Canaanite article.

There are no reservations or tickets required.  I hope to see many of you there—with teens in tow.  See the flyer below for more information.

P.S. If anyone doubts the need for this talk…see links below:

Heroin Has Killed Six Young People from New Canaan – New Canaanite

Heroin Use Becoming An Epidemic in Fairfield Community – Norwalk Daily Voice

Heroin Killing Connecticut Residents at an Alarming Rate – New Canaan Patch

Pair Arrested for Heroin Possession in New Canaan – Eyewitness News

New Canaan Police Have New Tool for Fighting Heroin Overdoses – New Canaan News

Heroin Epidemic Increasingly Seeps into Public View – New York Times

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 8.50.53 PM

 

SLS Assembly Re: Addiction

The following was sent via eblast to St. Luke’s Parents today…

Three weeks ago, on February 1st, Philip Seymour Hoffman died because of heroin. This past summer, Cory Monteith, star of the popular Glee series, died because of heroin. Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, River Phoenix, John Belushi—just a few on the long list of people who seemed to “have it all,” but in the end, had only heroin.

Yet this problem is not confined to the super rich and famous, nor the terribly poor and unfortunate. Heroin has become frighteningly common. Gone are the days when we could ignore it as a drug for urban junkies or Hollywood stars. In the last several years, in fact, heroin use, addiction and deaths among young people have increased dramatically in suburban communities such as New Canaan and in rural areas. Last month, the New York Times did a feature about Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin devoting his entire State of the State Message to “a full-blown heroin crisis.” That same article stated: “In the past few years, officials have reported a surge in the use of heroin in New England, with a sharp rise in overdoses and deaths, as well as robberies and other crimes common among addicts. Those same statistics are being replicated across the country.”

Tomorrow, on Tuesday, 2/25, I will hold a special assembly for Upper School Students and eighth graders. I intend to raise a red flag about addiction, point out common and dangerous myths, and share a personal story. After the assembly, students will attend advisory sessions in which advisors will facilitate follow-up conversations. Students will be given the names of faculty who can provide resources and guidance should questions arise.

Why now? This quote from the Chicago Sun-Times captures the sad opportunity Hoffman’s death presents: “Hoffman’s performance in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” as the subversive Plutarch Heavensbee, made him visible to our kids—just as their generation struggles with drugs for the first time in their lives. His death can teach them—and us—a lesson.”

Timing is key. Our children are at a critical age. It’s their time to experiment. To take risks and to be curious. We encourage these qualities. But they are also at an age when they think they can try anything, the danger doesn’t apply to them, and they will live forever. There is unreliable influence all around them. It’s up to us to tell them the real truth about heroin and drug addiction.

I will share more about this assembly, including articles and resources, in next week’s blog. I welcome your thoughts.