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From the Desk of Dr. Charles Murphy: March 25, 2011

Several weeks ago, Island Trees High School hosted a Drug Prevention forum with keynote speaker, DEA Agent Charlie Bernard. Mr. Bernard is an outstanding speaker and shares his tremendous knowledge of the drug trade with many communities throughout the Island. In fact, the number of drug arrests that occur in their own neighborhoods surprises many people. Serious drug deals are not isolated to dilapidated slums in the inner city, but take place in almost all suburban towns and villages on Long Island. His presentations have educated many parents and students on what they can do to stay drug-free. He has been involved in hundreds of arrests and unfortunately, has dealt with almost as many tragedies. During the recent forum, he tells a story about a parent who finds out their child is drug involved and how thankful they are to discover “it’s only marijuana.”

Researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine explain marijuana is a “gateway” drug, which leads to use, abuse and addiction of harder drugs. In essence, if you discover your children are involved in the so-called lower end recreational drugs, get them help immediately before they move onto a more addicting and dangerous ones Charlie Bernard implores parents, “Don’t settle with your children. If you find your child is drug involved… no matter what the drug… get them help immediately… again, don’t ever settle with your children.”

Equally concerning is the alcohol abuse seen in students throughout the country, including in Island Trees. Once the weather warms up, the amount of teenage drinking escalates in the community. A Monday morning walk of the school grounds near our elementary schools, Sparke and Stokes, as well as near Karopczyc will find the areas littered with empty beer and alcohol cans.  

Although some may feel teenage drinking is a rite of passage for emerging adults, too often we are reminded of the tragedies caused by excessive teenage drinking.  Most recently, an Eastport-South Manor High School senior went to sleep after a night of binge drinking and never woke up. Clearly, death is a rite of passage we would all like to avoid.   More and more often, we read about the wrong-way drivers and DUI tragedies along Hempstead Turnpike – all caused by excessive drinking. We’re all mindful of how dangerous alcohol can be for adults and we all need to be even more so of how dangerous it is in the hands of children.