While we all like to celebrate success, it’s important to also recognize that many children are struggling to cope with the challenges before them while avoiding high-risk, unhealthy and potentially fatal choices.
East End school districts, for the most part, have embraced educating parents and community members about the dangers of underage drinking and the impact of drug use on the underdeveloped teenage brain — a brain not fully formed until the age of 25. The reality of drug use today is different than it was even a few years ago. Synthetic marijuana, in various strains and potencies, has largely replaced green, leafy marijuana and has presented a new challenge for parents and educators since it is hard to detect, yet extremely powerful and potentially fatal when oils are mixed with opioids like fentanyl.
The Adolescent Mental Health and Substance Abuse Task Force held an informative, if not well attended, forum last week at LTV Studios in Wainscott. East Hampton Town Police Sgt. Ken Alversa and East Hampton High School Principal Adam Fine presented trends they are seeing in teen substance abuse. They didn’t mince words. They did not underplay the dangers facing teens today or the sobering reality of how prevalent liquid nicotine and liquid THC is in our high schools.
It was a sobering conversation that more parents need to have with local school administrators because it is happening across the East End. Turning a blind eye only has the potential to lead to more devastating statistics.