Unaware parents can find out if child is using drugs

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CUMMING, Ga. — For a parent, the last thing they want to admit is that their child is trying drugs and alcohol.

The Forsyth County Drug Awareness Council, which was formed last year, is working to raise parents’ awareness and to educate young people to the true effects of drugs and alcohol.

According to the council, four out of five children will try drugs and/or alcohol before their senior year of high school and over half will have tried an illicit drug prior to their senior year in high school.

“Between January and October of 2013, there were around 27 drug overdoses with high school students in Forsyth,” said Niki Colella, executive director of Family Connection Partnership.

Colella is one of the members in the drug awareness council, which is working to put together a third event for parents on Aug. 19. The drug awareness event will be held at the Lanier Tech Conference Center, 3410 Ronald Reagan Boulevard.

The first drug summit was held in November and about 500 people took part.

During the second drug summit, the different types of drugs and tools that children are exposed to were addressed, including a demonstration of what the drugs look like by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office.

Mothers with drug-addicted children and teens who have encountered drug addictions in the past, will speak at the August event.

“Black Heroin tends to be the drug of choice in this area,” Colella said. “There are so many drugs around here and parents really need to be aware of them and what they can do to their children.”

During the Aug. 19 event, there will also be a question-and-answers portion for parents.

The Forsyth County Drug Awareness Council was created by Forsyth County Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills. The group is tasked with educating residents on drug use in the county, promoting prevention programs and providing lists of resources for residents on what do to when they suspect a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol.

Beginning in August, a drug awareness meeting will be held on the third Wednesday of each month, Colella said.

Colella said the council hopes to have a resource center soon to be used as a hotline for parents and addicts around the area.

For more information, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.forsythcountydrugawarenesscouncil.org" www.forsythcountydrugawarenesscouncil.org.

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