'It is doable'

Aaron Krause • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:19 PM

The minutes and seconds ticked away ominously, as though to emphasize the importance of acting now against substance abuse.

The clock actually counted down the 59 minutes of the second of two drug and alcohol awareness information meetings organized by community leaders for parents and caregivers.

The basic message of the meetings be proactive in preventing youngsters from becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol.

Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch said about 250 people combined attended both seminars, and that number exceeded her expectation. Lesch estimated Thursday's attendance at Norwalk High School's Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center at about 100.

"I'm happy to see people having such a genuine interest in (drug and alcohol prevention)," she said. "Angie (Smith) called it doable and it is doable."

Smith, of the Huron County General Health District, was one of several people who presented statistics and anecdotes regarding substance abuse and how to prevent it.

Those in attendance also received pamphlets of information and drug testing kits.

Lesch told those attending drug kits are useful when youngsters are faced with peer pressure.

"I can't take drugs; my mom has a drug test kit at home," Lesch suggested a young person might say. "It empowers your kids to have another excuse."

Lesch herself has been indirectly affected by drugs; her nephew, Zach, was six weeks away from his 21st birthday when he died from a drug overdose, and another nephew is in rehab.

There were warning signs: At 15, he was caught drinking alcohol and his good friends stopped hanging out with him. Lesch said those closest to Zach looked at school officials, who noticed something was wrong, as enemies as opposed to allies.

"Zach's family closed their eyes to the signs of drug use," Lesch said. "Tonight, we invite you to open your eyes to the drug use in our community."

And there is drug use in Norwalk: Police Chief Kevin Cashen said as of September, there have been 131 drug arrests in the Maple City.

"We still have three more months to go," Cashen said.

Norwalk resident Mim Ewell said it would be a good idea to have a recovering addict speak to students. But, she liked what she heard at Thursday's meeting.

"This is a great place to start," she said.

Recommended for You

    Norwalk Reflector Videos