Lyons Township High School parents back to school on drug awareness
Students in the LT Chefs program made omelettes to order for the breakfast attendees. Lyons Township High School hosted a Red Ribbon breakfast featuring psychotherapist Kimberly Groll. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Red Ribbon Week
Focus: Promote awareness against abuse of alcohol, drugs and tobacco
Origin: Started in 1985 with the murder of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Kiki Camarena pursuing Mexican drug traffickers
Observances: Pop-ups of drug and alcohol facts when students log into computers LTHS, posters in English and math classes and a brown bag lunch session to alert staff on signs of substance abuse
Coursework: Substance abuse is covered in all health classes
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:09AM
LA GRANGE— If your teen mentions skittles parties or Mr. Brownstone, it could be a problem.
Parents and community members got a refresher course at Lyons Township High School Oct. 24 on the latest trends in drugs threatening young peoples’ lives. The presentation was part of the school’s observance of Red Ribbon Week aimed at preventing substance abuse.
Skittles or pharm parties refer to teens pooling an assortment of prescription medications and grabbing a handful of pills, explained Jill Accardo, a nurse and district health coordinator for Oswego schools.
“Mr. Brownstone is not some neighbor or teacher; it’s another name for heroin,” said Kimberly Groll, a therapist and presenter at forums examining the heroin epidemic in Naperville.
Both speakers stressed the necessity for parental involvement in their children’s lives, a well as the need to become educated on the signs of drug use and the array of substances kids are using.
So far in 2012, heroin has claimed 31 lives in Will County, including eight in January alone, Groll said. In DuPage County, 34 fatal overdoes were reported, which include four teens in Downers Grove, where a forum was held Oct. 25.
“Heroin is a drug that is destroying our children and communities,” Groll said. “It’s out there, it’s cheap and easy to use, and kids are engaging in this behavior.”
Suburban teens also are trying new formulas of synthetic marijuana escaping the ban imposed by state law Jan. 1, Groll said. Incense, plant food and bath salts are inhaled, snorted or injected with varying amounts of chemicals adding unpredictable effects on users, including death, Groll said.
Teens also are using high doses of over-the-counter cold medications, mixed with alcohol, she said.
Parents should be aware of changes in their children’s behavior, appearance, health, friends and grades, as well as checking the family’s I-pass to see miles accumulated and dates and times of tolls.
Other tell-tale signs are burnt pieces of foil, or missing spoons, shoe laces, money, prescriptions or valuables.
“If you feel something’s not right, don’t ignore it,” Groll advised.
She referred to a mental health assessment for risk of substance abuse.
La Grange parent Eliza Stern, who has two students at Park Junior High School and a freshman at LT, said she was surprised to learn one of the reasons kids get into drugs is boredom, despite today’s packed schedules.
“I also was surprised about the creative ways kids are getting drugs into their systems, like shooting it through their eyelids,” Stern said.