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Task force tackles drug education

Public invited to adults-only event at West Linn High School


The West Linn Community Task Force is hosting a community awareness event for parents to discuss youth drug use. Don’t let the group’s name fool you, though. The problem of teen drug abuse extends beyond West Linn’s boundaries, and so does the invitation to this event.

Adults from West Linn and surrounding areas are encouraged to attend the fourth annual Adult Only Talk on Wednesday, Oct. 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at West Linn High School. The event’s goal is to raise awareness around substance use and abuse as well as bullying. Attendees will learn about current trends and receive expert advice on how to spot potential problems, according to Julie Edwards, task force president and co-founder.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - A panel of experts share advice and answer questions at the 2012 Adult Only Talk sponsored by the West Linn Community Task force. From left are Dr. Andrew Mendenhall, Bill Stewart, Jared Weaver, Donny Wright and Mike Francis.“The goals of the annual outreach events are to help people talk more openly about real issues that can affect their lives, plus provide the appropriate experts to answer key questions,” Edwards said.

Experts will be on hand to provide medical, legal, mental, social and family advice. Featured speakers will include Dr. Andrew Mendenhall, medical director of Hazelden Addiction Treatment Center in Beaverton; Bill Stewart, a Clackamas County district attorney; Darin Mancuso, juvenile drug court coordinator in Clackamas County; Donny Wright, family counselor; Mike Francis, West Linn police officer and school resource officer; and Jared Weaver, who will share a student addict’s perspective.

WLHS Principal Lou Bailey hosted a daytime event for WHLS students Tuesday; experts addressed some of their questions and concerns during the adult event Wednesday.

“Four years ago I boldly stated that our school ... was going to stand up to drug and alcohol issues and I feel that we not only tackled that head-on with the help of the WLCTF but we’ll continue to fight the good fight in order to make a positive difference,” Bailey said. “I am very proud of the collaborative efforts demonstrated with our school admin team, the students and the parents who have all come together in the name of more education and awareness on prevention. This is a societal issue, a community issue, and we’ve been working with the WLCTF for the past four years and we’re proud of the movement we’re seeing.”

State Rep. Julie Parrish also will be in attendance. She is sponsoring two bills in Oregon’s House of Representatives, one aimed at improving prevention and education and the other aimed at providing fast treatment for young substance abusers.

“Some of the parents who will be there, including myself, will share stories so that people in our community know what can happen,” Edwards said. “I want to make sure that people know they’ve got resources. We’re coming from a place of no names. You have questions? We’ll answer them.”

Attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions anonymously or face to face with the experts. Free resource materials and drug disposal bottles will be available.

Edwards said, “It’s amazing the community is coming together as a collaborative group to help our community, to help our kids.”

The Adult Only Talk is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the task force website at westlinncommunitytaskforce.com.

Kate Hoots can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 112. Follow her on Twitter, @CommuniKater.




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