NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The recent snow storm created dangerous driving conditions on Wednesday, March 15, which led to the closing of the New Providence High School and the much anticipated Parent Wellness Series event: Danger in Your Medicine Cabinet: What Every Parent Needs to Know.  The area high schools of New Providence, Berkeley Heights, Chatham, Millburn, and Summit sponsor important parent education events, which rotate among the schools.   

Dave Chango, Student Assistant Counselor, at New Providence High School, helped organize the March 15, event.   He  had arranged experts in the field of drug education and prevention to be panelist for an interactive discussion of the current heroin epidemic, which often originates in one’s own medicine cabinet.   These experts included: Local therapist, Thomas Dwyer, LPC, LCADC, Executive Director of the Gateway Center for Counseling and Recovery in New Providence, who specializes in addictions with individuals and families, Pamela Capaci, Executor Director of Prevention Links of NJ, which provides community education on drugs and alcohol, and Angelo Valente, Executor Director of the Partnership of a Drug Free NJ (PDRNJ), which collaborates with local government and businesses to help “unsell” drug use in New Jersey.

 Chango said that high school parents attending the event were going to be shown a short PDRNJvideo of four typical middle class suburban mothers sharing their sad heroin stories involving their children which he said he hoped would then lead to an interactive discussion between the parents and the panelists. The panelists were ready to provide prevention education, as well as advice to parents who may suspect or know of their children’s active use of drugs and/or alcohol.  The video can be seen online at talknownj.com “Mom’s Know Best: A Crucial Message for Parents”

In preparing for this symposium, he said he learned several disturbing facts about the current heroin epidemic from the panelists that he thinks parents should know, including these troubling facts: many children think taking prescription drugs from the medicine cabinet is safer to take to get high, even though they are just as dangerous and addictive; in NJ one in four teenagers report to abusing prescription drugs, and NJ has some of the purest and cheapest heroin in the country.  Chango said that this is a difficult message to deliver to parents but they need hear it and to know that there are expert resources to help.