Montgomery school leaders organize ‘conversation’ about substance abuse

School officials have called a countywide “conversation” about drug and alcohol abuse among Montgomery County students, with a two-hour meeting planned for Monday.

Superintendent Joshua P. Starr asked that the event be planned after hearing concerns at community meetings and testimony at school board meetings over the last two years, officials said.

The evening of discussion will focus on drug trends, youth addiction and wellness. It brings Starr together with leaders in health, law enforcement, research and student support.

“Recognizing and preventing substance abuse in our children is a very important topic for our schools, our families, and our community at large,” said Starr said in a statement. “It is an issue that will require us to collaborate on solutions that will help our young people making healthy choices, so they can lead productive lives.”

The event, at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, will open Monday at 6:30 pm. Presentations and a question-answer session will go from 7 to 9 pm.

Patty Winters, a longtime activist on substance abuse issues and coordinator of Brave and Bold coalition, a prevention group, said she hoped the event would lead to an ongoing educational series on substance abuse in the county.

More information needs to be provided about parenting strategies and the accessibility of drugs to teenagers, she said. “Parent need to be aware and not be afraid to talk to their children, or their children’s friends, or their children’s friends’ parents,” she said.

She added, “There is no adolescent that isn’t vulnerable to this slippery slope.”

Donna St. George writes about education, with an emphasis on Montgomery County schools.
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