|Boerne Independent School District (BISD) hosted a panel discussion on Substance Abuse at Champion High School and Boerne High School. The goal of the forum was to educate and talk with Boerne students and their parents about the risks of addiction, focusing on providing actionable resources that will help incline parents to aid their child if they come to them with a question or situation involving drugs or alcohol.The panel included Kendall Country first Assistant Criminal District Attorney, Katherine McDaniel, a former BISD student, Law Enforcement Officers, a Kendall County Probation Officer, Addiction Treatment Professionals – Art VanDivier and Janet Blackburn, LCSW, LCDC (La Hacienda Treatment Center), and Megan Lawson, M.A., from the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department.
On the first panel, Janet, Art and the rest of the group spoke to Boerne parents. Janet and Art went into the psychology and brain chemistry that affects an individual’s choice to use. Focusing on what a young person might find attractive in a drug – fitting in, or relieving anxiety and boredom are probable causes. When confronted with the question, “How can I know if my child will become addicted?” Janet and Art both recognized how difficult it is to know if your child will be one of the 15 percent that gets “hooked”. “You don’t know,” said Janet. “Keep the communication open and make sure to give them lines to say if they are ever in a situation where they are being pressured to use drugs. Rehearsing and role-playing can help build their self-esteem and level of confidence when dealing with these situations.” She could not stress enough how important it is as a parent, to have an open dialogue with your child.
At the second panel discussion, Janet, Megan and the rest of the panel spoke in front of a congregation of students. The panel touched on frequently used drugs among the youth, such as synthetic marijuana and marijuana in the form of edibles. They discussed just how lethal batches of synthetic marijuana can be and how they vary – they make synthetic marijuana by laying out the quantity and unevenly spraying with chemicals. That means each batch is different in potency, some stronger than others, so you never know how much a given amount is going to affect you and ultimately giving no consistent dosage or measurement. In the eyes of a young individual who is unaware of just how lethal it can be, synthetic marijuana can seem harmless. In reality, synthetic marijuana’s effects can carry out way further than what might be expected as a fun night, being adventurous. One try can turn into a nightmare. Megan added how “early symptoms of psychosis” could be present as soon as the first time.
The panel was well received by both the parents and students and La Hacienda was honored to be invited to participate in such an important event in our local community.