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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 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 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."

Rich Smith February 14, 2012 at 10:57 PM
At the time I am writing this, “Low Drug Talk Turnout Dismays Mayor “has had 9 comments. “Should Gay Marriage be Legal in NJ?” has received 87 comments. Where are our priorities? Patch always has articles about the good kids in our town. The Cheer leaders, the Scouts, the high school teams. Let’s take care of our kids. They are the important things in our community. Get those drugs out of our town. Don’t worry about who gets married to who. ( Or is it "whom"?)
john right February 14, 2012 at 10:58 PM
The 18 year old drinker was liberated Sunday 1/1/73. The republicans have raped 18 year old rights for the last 35 years. They are not "young adults" they are "oppressed quasi adults." These "drinking age refugees" must be given freedom and the universal right to drink at eighteen must be enstalled. As for the "war on drugs" it is pretty much over. The 80's were just a fantasy for the extreme rich. i.e. no one cares anymore.
TakingAStand February 15, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Unless all can agree that drugs are a problem in our town and that these meetings are very important, attendance will continue to be low. Of course if another overdose touches this town maybe the concerned citizens will attend these meetings. Maybe if the deaths caused by an overdose were made public more would open their eyes. BUT... if the school and the BOE don't think it's important enough to list these events on their calendars then we have a bigger problem at hand (see below). Calendars appear on the town website and the all school links and I am sure hard copies are distributed. The word was out about this meeting but as you can see from the calendar links below it conflicted with other events. For the next meeting... pick a day without another meeting scheduled. I am asking that these events be listed on the calendars distributed by the schools and the BOE. I know many read Patch and I am directing this request to Superintendent Dr. Charles Maranzano. http://www.hopatcong.org/calendar/CalFrontFeb2012.pdf http://www.hopatcong.org/calendar/CalBackFeb2012.pdf http://www.hopatcongschools.org/hs/calendar Still Taking A Stand
TakingAStand February 15, 2012 at 01:59 PM
PS.... The Hopatcong Municipal Alliance meetings should also appear on all calendars. And if you have a Facebook page get over and like their page so you can see when more upcoming events are posted.
Valerie Quinn February 15, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Thank you to everyone who is intrested in the Hopatcong Municipal Alliance. Please feel free to either check out our Facebook page or e-mail us and we will put you on our e-mail distribution list. hopatcongmuniciaplalliance@yahoo.com Our next meeting is February 22, 3:30 in the Municipal Building. I try very hard to list our events on .patch too. Thank you again!!

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