Informative ‘Drug Free’ Community Forum

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The auditorium at Rocky Point High School was standing room only during the district’s spring “Drug Free” community forum, an event that supported the schools’ ongoing proactive approach to integrating health and substance abuse programs into the K-12 curriculum.
Shocking statistics, including that over the course of the two-hour forum, 10 people in the nation will have died of a drug overdose, opened the agenda and immediately captivated the audience. Keynote speaker John Venza, the vice president of adolescent services for Outreach, delivered an eye-opening presentation on drug use across Long Island, signs to watch for, where to get help and much more.

Following his comprehensive overview, the audience heard the results of a recent youth development survey taken by Rocky Point students and how those self-reported answers compared to responses nationwide.

Additionally, Hope House Overdose Prevention’s board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Jennifer Serrentino, spoke about the importance of Narcan training.

“This is a war that we are fighting, and we are in the trenches as parents, educators and members of the community,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael F. Ring. “This is a battle that isn’t necessarily in the streets, as many think it is…it is in your living room, the rec room in your basement or your child’s bedroom.”

Dr. Ring encouraged parents to be vigilant in their efforts and urged each to take home the drug testing kits provided by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and to participate in the district’s free Narcan training on April 12.

To further support the evening’s message, several organizations were on hand in the high school lobby. Displays featured information from groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, the North Shore Youth Council and the Suffolk County Prevention Resource Center.