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Experts to speak about drugs

November 5, 2007

Classes to inform parents on the new drug scene and what to look for

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Local professionals will inform parents on how drugs can destroy young people’s lives during a two-part Community Education class Mondays, Nov. 12 and 19 in the Dassel-Cokato High School’s choir room.

Because of the increasing abuse of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, Methamphetamine Education and Drug Awareness (MEADA) is expanding its educational efforts to include all drugs which could result in chemical dependency.

“We want to help parents be aware of the dangers of these drugs,” said Susie Keskey from DC MEADA, explaining that it is often difficult for parents to discover a child is abusing prescription drugs.

Local professionals will be speaking including Sergeant Scott Halonen from Wright County Sheriff’s Office, Sergeant Becky Howell from Wright County Drug Task Force, local pharmacist Tom Keaveny, Margaret Munson, a Wright County probation officer; Matt Kerayan, a family support counselor from New Beginnings in Waverly; DC health teacher Brooks Helget, and deputy Drew Scherber, also from the high school.

The first session is for parents and adults only, and will discuss the topics of how kids are getting high, and what the school is teaching kids about drugs.

Howell will talk about the most popular drugs out on the street today, including prescription drugs and inhalants.

“There are all sorts of drugs out there for kids to have access to,” Howell.

Howell will also share some of the cases she has investigated as a drug task force.

Keaveny will be able to explain the effects some of these drugs have on a person who is abusing them – drugs such as dextromethorphan (DXM), found in common cold medicines.

Helget will explain the curriculum being taught today at the various grade levels regarding drugs, alcohol, and tobacco prevention.

“I hope the meeting will open our lines of communication with parents, and that parents become better educated,” Helget said.

To encourage parents to attend, Helget is offering his health students extra credit if their parents attend.

Deputy Sherber will explain the DARE program and drug penalty procedures the school district has in place.

The second session is for parents and children, and will be Monday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. in the choir room.

This session will include topics of law enforcement such as what happens when a person gets arrested as well as how to get help and support for the user.

Halonen, along with Munson, will discuss what happens when a person gets arrested for drug use and about the court system.

Halonen is a 1988 DC graduate and lives in the Cokato area. He has been in law enforcement for 18 years, with two of those being in the drug task force. He is also on the Emergency Response Team which gives him exposure to drug users and dealers, as well.

Halonen believes in the importance of spending quantity time and not necessarily quality time with kids.

He will be giving a short presentation on the family-type situations in which kids are being exposed to drugs, and the repercussions they may face on the law enforcement side.

After that, Karayan will discuss what the family can do to help and support the drug user.

Karayan has worked in the field of chemical dependency since 1981 and is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor with the State of Minnesota. He is a family therapist at New Beginnings in Waverly, a chemical dependency treatment center for adult men and women, since 1998.

He will talk about some of the warning signs, what to look for when it comes to adolescents using drugs, and how to effectively talk to adolescents about drug use.

Also, Karayan will talk about how to love addicts without enabling their addiction, which is the premise of his book, “Healing the Wound.”

Along with this, he will speak about healing the mind – the process to gain peace of mind in a person’s life.

Karayan will also disclose the biggest block to being a positive influence in children’s lives.

Classes are free and continuing education certificates will be provided upon request.