The Greater North Penn Collaborative for Health and Human Services addressed drug and alcohol abuse Tuesday at its Sixth Annual Community Summit titled, “Unleashing the Power of Community to Reduce Youth Substance Abuse.” Participants included Souderton Area School District Director of Human Resources Chris Hey, who said a recent student survey reflected national trends, with both good and bad.
“There is some real cause for concern. On the other hand, there is some reason to celebrate. We found out how connected our students are to the community, how much they volunteer, that they do their homework and are involved with faith-based groups.”
Doctor Hey is also a member of the Character Counts Coalition, which he said is bringing together parents and school and community leaders to address marijuana smoking, prescription drug abuse and a growing underage drinking problem. Dave Crosson heads the collaborative that sponsored the summit. He said a big part of the problem is a fairly common adult attitude.
“Parents not being parents. That’s a cliché, but you can’t be one of your kid’s best friends. In the end that is not going to help the child.”
Dorothy Grant’s organization, known as NHS, works with schools developing student assistance programs, and she said the need is great.
“We are seeing more and more kids with significant issues, we’re seeing kids at younger ages with significant issues, and we’re seeing family dynamics that are problematic.”
She said kids as young as 8 or 9 are using alcohol, and prescription drug abuse is increasing dramatically.