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The Dansville Online
  • Drugs in Dansville

  • “What Affects Are Drugs and Alcohol Having On Our Youth? A Community Discussion,” was part of a national promotion sponsored by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association and locally coordinated with the help of Healthy Communities that Care and the Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse (CASA) Services of Livingston County.

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  • It’s a topic that is usually filled with grim statistics, but the April 24 town hall meeting was relatively positive while not withholding concerns.
    “What Affects Are Drugs and Alcohol Having On Our Youth? A Community Discussion,” was part of a national promotion sponsored by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association and locally coordinated with the help of Healthy Communities that Care and the Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse (CASA) Services of Livingston County.
    The purpose of the forum was to address the topic of underage alcohol and drug use.
    Dawn Landon, community prevention specialist and chemical dependency counselor for CASA; and prevention specialist for DCS, was the program’s master of ceremonies.
    “I am very happy to see such a positive turnout,” she said regarding the roughly 40 adults in attendance. “This makes quite a statement about how the safety and wellbeing of the children in Dansville are to the people who live here.”
    The hour-and-a-half forum consisted of five local panelists who spoke on various aspects of drug and alcohol use, such as its use in the community, parental prevention and resources for recovery.
    The first was Dr. Norman Wetterau, a Tri-County physician who also works as a clinic physician in the Dansville CASA office.
    He began with why kids get involved with drugs.
    “Drug problems are, I believe, a contagious pediatric disease,” he said. “It’s contagious because it’s spread from kid to kid.”
    He went on to discuss various drugs and their dangers, as well as the new fad of synthetic marijuana (K2/Spice).
    Amy Schiavi, Dansville Central’s director of Pupil Personnel Services, spoke about some of the trends in the Dansville School District, including eight incidents of reported drug possession, sale or use since the beginning of the school year and seven incidents of reported tobacco violations.
    Along with the Dansville Police Department, “on a daily basis...we work to maintain a safe and secure environment for our students,” she said.
    Regarding the formerly legal Spice, “we have seen the catastrophic effects of that in our young.”
    She said that she has been to five student funerals in the past 10 years which have been linked to alcohol use – either directly under the influence or were victims of another’s use.
    She ended with a message of hope, stating that parents coping with their child’s addictions are not alone, and that there are sources within the community that can help their teen overcome drug or alcohol abuse.
    Steve Todisco, program coordinator for Hillside Children’s Center Youth Court, spoke about the 60-day diversion program, including its positive “peer pressure” experiences.
    “We’re helping [an] individual change these inappropriate behaviors, move forward with their life, turn to the community and be a successful aspect in that community.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Mark Weber, pastor of Dansville Free Methodist Church, is a former DARE and School Resource Officer, as well as a former Community Outreach Coordinator.
    He spoke about family dynamics – how drugs and alcohol impact families and ways parents can impact children in a positive direction.
    “In prevention, in delaying experimentation and in recovery, you’re it. You’re the key component,” he said, echoing Todesco’s statement of providing positive peer pressure to kids, and Schiavi’s statement of available community support.
    Cassandra Myles, the final panelist of the evening, is a Dansville mother who talked about her 16-year-old son’s battle with overcoming drug addiction. He is now in a recovery center in?Watertown.
    “I felt so alone, like I?was doing something wrong. The guilt, the embarrassment, everything was there.”
    Her experiences have prompted her to want to reach out to other moms.
    Questions and answers followed, as well as Landon’s announcement of initiatives brought up during Dansville Community Meetings regarding creating positive activities for Dansville’s youth.
    Plans include a possible youth acknowledgment program to let youth know they are appreciated and looked at as a blessing to the community; a 40 development assets program to encourage healthy behaviors; and a community-led recognition award banquet for Dansville’s youth.

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