Manassas parents may be asked to put in some overtime to help fight alcohol and drug abuse among the city's children.
Following the first extensive survey of drug, alcohol and tobacco use among the district's sixth- through 12th-graders, the schools' Drug-Free Advisory Committee is studying ways of getting parents more involved in prevention of abuse among students.
The group of school officials, teachers, parents and professionals met last week with three parents from Winchester to discuss how the community about 45 miles northwest of Manassas has been training parents in its battle against substance abuse by its youth.
Winchester's efforts began with concerns by several mothers in 1981 over what they saw as increasing drug and alcohol abuse among adolescents. With the help of Winchester and Frederick County schools, a parents group, Kids Are Our Concern Inc., evolved.
The group has helped organize in-school programs, such as support groups, and extracurricular activities encouraging healthy lifestyles among youth.
The district's last three surveys on substance abuse showed a "decided downturn in every category" -- alcohol, tobacco and drugs, Winchester parent Teresa Clay told the advisory committee.
Within the past year, the Winchester group has introduced a program called Parent to Parent, a series of video-based workshops that focus on such topics as effective parenting skills, raising parents' awareness of signs of substance abuse, better communication with children and other parents and acting to treat children's substance abuse.