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Parents turn out for talk about drugs

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO Julie Edwards, at center, talks with attendees at the “Adult-Only Talk” at West Linn High School Oct. 19 while West Linn Mayor John Kovash looks on.

About 140 parents and community members recently attended the West Linn Community Task Force's second annual fall 'Adult-Only Talk' at West Linn High School.

The goal of the Oct. 19 forum was to continue talks about the subject of teen use and abuse of drugs and alcohol and about how the community can stay engaged in helping youth with awareness and prevention.

Five speakers presented to the crowd with an array of subjects, ranging from the biological effects of drugs on the youth brain, to the legal, social and emotional consequences of making poor decisions. There was also information on where to go if a teen is in crisis and appropriate treatments.

'It was great to see so much support from not only parents, but also from top leadership in West Linn, including the new West Linn-Wilsonville school superintendent and the mayor,' said Julie Edwards, president and co-founder of the West Linn Community Task Force.

The West Linn Community Task Force is a community-based grassroots effort made up of volunteers. The group proactively engages the community to act for a collective social cause around teen drug use.

'It's like a throwback from the 1950s, where everyone rolls up their sleeves and does their part to help make a difference for our youth,' Edwards said. 'We welcome anyone to join us and contribute.'

The task force comprises of several local community and Portland metro area supporters.

The evening also helped educate and promote safe drug disposal practices by donating free drug disposable bottles for each family.

'Sadly, most people throw their old prescription medications down the drain, which harms our waters, or they leave old medications around the house, which can be dangerous for curious teens,' Edwards said.

Elements MDS was a partner in the disposable drug bottle effort and more bottles can be purchased online at www.westlinncommunity

taskforce.org.

This winter and spring, there will be 'Student-Only Talks' at the high school and peer mentoring at the middle school levels. The Teen Advisory Board (made up of 40 West Linn High School students) has doubled in size from last year, and there is strong momentum moving forward with this collective awareness mission among all ages, Edwards said.

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