Low Drug Talk Turnout Dismays Mayor, Parents
Petillo: 'If you don't come to these programs you don't realize the danger that your children are in.'
Drinking alcohol before age 15 makes you seven times more likely to become an alcoholic by age 21, Center for Prevention and Counseling Assistant Director Becky Carlson said.
"Pretty staggering information," Hopatcong parent Terry Bond said.
Unfortunately for Carlson, few other people were around to hear the statistic as only a handful of parents, Board of Education members, Hopatcong Municipal Alliance members and Mayor Sylvia Petillo attended Monday night's drug trend meeting at the Hopatcong High School auditorium.
Carlson said the dismal turnout made her feel "disappointment because you want to reach more people."
But she said there was a silver lining.
"You don't know who you've reached or who you've helped," Carlson said.
Carlson and Tina Thompson, also of the center, each said the presentation was in response to Hopatcong High School reporting eight separate drug-related incidents on its campus during the 2011-2012 school year, highlighted by a student's January overdose on cough syrup.
Petillo asked several questions during the presentation. She said she wished more residents showed up Monday.
"I learn so much when I come here and I've been doing this for years," she said. "There's always something that I didn't know. And then there's [the issue of] awareness. People need to know. And you can't be aware of the new [drug] trends unless you know what the new trends are."
"Every time I see something" regarding drugs "that I didn't know, I just sit amazed," Petillo continued. "And I think that's the issue. If you don't come to these programs you don't realize the danger that your children are in. There's just too much out there that people are not aware of."
Bond, who attended the meeting with her husband, Rob, agreed.
"It's just pathetic that people don't come," said Bond, who also said she didn't know if the meeting was well advertised. "I don't understand why people don't come."
Rob Bond said it often takes tragedies to motivate some people.
"That's when you get the big crowd," he said. "When a kid gets killed or seriously injured from something. Then parents get all irate and show up."
Despite the low attendance, Carlson and Thompson finished the entire presentation. The pair also spoke to Hopatcong high school and middle school teachers earlier in the afternoon.
"We feel passionate about it," Carlson said. "And that's what you've got to do. You've got to keep trying."