On Tuesday evening, parents and teens alike gathered at the Porter County Expo Center for the “Parents2Partners: Breaking the Silence” event. It was a chance for the community to discuss a very real problem that hits close to home. The subject of the evening was teen substance abuse.
“The goal of the evening is to educate, empower, and equip parents of Porter County to detect, deter, and prevent drug abuse in their homes and in the community,” said Angela Crossin, of Women in Bloom.
The evening began with Sonshine Troche, Executive Director of Worthy Women Recovery Home, reading a powerful story of a young man who lost his life to a heroin overdose. This story gave a great deal of insight about the change such a substance can cause in a bright, young man full of potential. It also shed some light on a problem facing teens and their families on a national scale.
“We’re here to help parents with their teens,” said Troche. “Not just in Porter County, but all over the nation.”
Another dangerous addiction facing teens was addressed as well. A heart-wrenching video was shown about the horrors of prescription drug abuse. In this video, several families affected by prescription abuse told their stories. Some told worst-case scenarios, but other families spoke of how they recognized it and prevented it, leaving a message of hope.
After the videos concluded, the audience was asked to discuss a question: “What are some signs that show your child is abusing substances?” There was a brief break in the presentation to allow the tables of teens and parents to discuss such signs. Parents and teens contributed many wonderful suggestions to this question.
The two presentations that followed were extremely touching and powerful for one very important reason; they were given by real families that have run into struggles surrounding a teen’s addiction.
The first family that presented wished to remain anonymous. However, their story still rang true for everyone attending. A mother, father, and son spoke about the son’s experimentation with drugs at an early age. This caused strife within the family and eventually led to the son being sent to a treatment facility. To hear the son talk about it, it was clear that he was extremely grateful to his parents for making the hard choice.
The next family that presented was Jaime Bauer and her son Michael. They too spoke of the difficulty that addiction had caused their family, but found hope after Michael went to a treatment facility in Utah. Michael and his mother took an interesting approach to educating the crowd.
Jaime sat down on stage with her son and asked him a series of questions. The audience got the chance to hear real questions about substance abuse from a concerned mother answered in a real way from her son.
“This is a chance for us to share our stories with each other so we can unite as a community,” said Jaime Bauer, Health Educator at A Positive Approach to Teen Health.
After Michael and Jaime finished telling their story, a group of professionals came up to answer questions from the audience regarding the substance abuse problem.
Between expert advice and testimonials from real parents and teens, the silence was broken.