By Mary O’KEEFE
The Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition, formerly Council, continues to move forward with its goal of education and support for the community.
The organization began with a small group of parents who were concerned about the growing drug use in the area. It has become an outreach program that has already sponsored a drug awareness seminar. Each month the coalition meets with people from all walks of life including law enforcement, local government officials and counselors. With the help of Crescenta Valley High School Principal Linda Evans a grant was acquired which funds a counseling session for parents every Tuesday night with family counselor Pam Erdman.
“We are hoping this will help build a sustainable organization that can confront the drug and alcohol issue long-term. We will be exploring grant opportunities at the state and federal level,” said Nancy Stone, coalition member.
The group has recently received a technical assistance grant from the California Department of Alcohol and Drug-Community Prevention Initiation program. The grant of over $100,000 is a good start as the organization continues to explore more funding opportunities, Stone said.
Drug use in Crescenta Valley has been brought front and center after consistent arrests of juveniles in the area on drug issues. At a recent Glendale Unified School District meeting the board discussed the high rate of pre-expulsions related to drug issues.
“There were 19 drug related pre-expulsions at Crescenta Valley High School (so far this year), six at Glendale High and Hoover High,” said Assistant Superintendent Richard Sheehan at the meeting.
In addition there was one pre-expulsion from Rosemont Middle School. Pre-expulsion is when a student has violated student education code 48900 which pertains to possessing, using, furnishing or selling a controlled substance. Hank Paz, director of student services, investigates the incident and then either recommends or dismisses expulsion procedures.
These numbers were no surprise to coalition members who had already been concerned about drug use in the community.
For community members who are concerned about drugs in the area or who just want information, all are encouraged to attend the meeting on Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at Crescenta Valley High School, 2900 Community Ave. The meetings are for community members and parents who are concerned about the drug issue and for parents who may have drug concerns regarding their children and need guidance.
The future goals of the coalition includes continued seminars and outreach, a book of support groups and counseling, informational guides and a youth community center that will give kids a place to go after school.