Friday, March 25, 2005

Topic: The Pittsfield drug scene.

Just how extensive is it?
Your feedback:


Blogger pfennell said...

Legalize drugs. Use the money for education.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005 4:05:00 PM  
Blogger jonathan said...

Dear Berkshire Bloggers:

My theory on substance abuse among teenagers is due to the peer pressure to belong to a group of friends in order to be cool and fit in. Now that I am 30, I can look back at my own teenage years with clearer vision. Being young is not easy. The problem I had when I read the following news article, below, is that many of the adults sending the message against substance abuse among teenagers don't know anymore what it was like to be young. Two of the three pictures on the Internet

fastsearch/ci_3673797) an old bald man like the Principal in the 1980's movie "Back to the Future" and a trio of aging men with gray hair and wrinkles, while the third picture shows a lone teenager speaking against teenage drinking activities. So, what is it like to be young? That is something I would have hoped to have read in the news article. How could compassion and understanding help these teenagers succumbing to such costly social ills? I was hoping to hear that the baby boomer generation lecturing the Y generation would relate to these young adult minors on a human level. We have to remember that every case has its own merits and that uniform messages only partially impacts society.

In my book on "John Adams", which I spent last evening reading for hours on end, our Founding Father wrote many letters. My favorite letters by John Adams are those to his wife Abigail. What romantics! Maybe that is the problem? Perhaps teenagers are so sexually and romantically repressed that they turn to alcohol and drugs. I don't really know the exact answer. Interestingly, Adams wrote about his love for Abigail to her as being like a slight infusion of Opium and feeling like Divinity itself. I thought that was so very romantic, but it leads me to wonder what people were like throughout the ages. Did people always use drugs? Was the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania a sign of substance abuse? I don't know what really happened, but I do believe that we need to take a more humane look at why substance abuse is a problem in our society.

Jonathan A. Melle

City teaches sober lesson

By Benning W. De La Mater, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Berkshire Eagle

Wednesday, April 05, 2006
It's Friday night — the touchstone of high school life. The game just finished. The party's about to start. There'll be schmoozing, there'll be dancing, and there'll definitely be drinking.

Society says it's OK. Pittsfield says it's not.

The Pittsfield Prevention Partnership brought city leaders to the Berkshire Athenaeum for a town hall meeting last night to discuss the issue of underage chronic drinking. About 80 residents, about 25 of whom were high school students, watched a movie on the topic and exchanged dialogue with the guest speakers.

The message: Society's nonchalant attitude toward teenage drinking has degraded the quality of life in the city, spawning a new generation of binge drinkers who are more apt to become lifelong alcoholics and dabble in serious drugs.

The panel included Ruth P. Blodgett, vice president of Berkshire Health Systems; District Attorney David F. Capeless; Sheriff Carmen C. Massimiano Jr.; Berkshire Juvenile Court Judge Paul E. Perachi; Pittsfield Police Chief Anthony J. Riello; Pittsfield School Department health coordinator Joshua Weeks; and the Brien Center's Jim Mucia.

They believe that for the city to help itself in ending the drinking problem, parents must join the fight.

Riello said the season is approaching when he gets calls from parents, asking, "Is it OK if I have a keg party at my house if I take away all the keys?"

Not only is this wrong, Riello said, it's illegal and punishable by jail time.

Perachi said that although teenage drinking is not a new problem — he remembers seniors trekking across New York's border to get drinks in the 1970s — it's getting worse. He looked out on the audience, and seeing mostly organization representatives and teenagers, said "The people who we need aren't here.

"(Parents) set the example."

A movie flashed scenes the media push on society — beer placards at sporting events, commercials showing drinkers scoring mates. It showed images of a young boy observing adults pouring strong drinks at a holiday party. It featured young people telling stories of how their first drink came from their parents' liquor stash.

"The aim," the narrator said, "is not to drink, but to get drunk."

Two ways communities have fought back against chronic drinking were limiting the amount of alcohol licenses issued and eliminating high-proof alcohol in certain stores.

"Underage drinking is not a right of passage for our teenagers," Capeless said. "We need to provide parents with information on how to talk to their kids. We need to set goals," hold surveys, continue prevention, and go into the middle schools.

Random high school students stood up during the meeting and delivered daunting statistics: 42 high school students will be killed this prom season; each day, three teenagers die in alcohol-related crashes; young girls have now caught up to boys in their rate of drinking.

According to federal stats, nearly 11 million people between the ages of 12 and 20 — 29 percent — reported drinking in the previous month.

Mucia said studies show that students who were given placebo alcohol drinks had just as much fun as those who had the real thing. The belief that drinking lets you have more fun "is just a myth," he said.

"We have to change the cultural perceptions in society toward alcohol and substance abuse. We need long-term programs, and we need it week after week, month after month."

Many in the audience were of the thinking that more activities outside of schools should be made available to students, something other than going to the mall.

Other communities have similar events planned for the upcoming weeks. The Pittsfield Prevention Partnership has said it will continue to increase dialogue between community leaders and parents.

Chris Tassone, 17, a junior at Pittsfield High School and member of MADD, said his parents taught him that it just wasn't acceptable behavior to be drunk. Churchill Cotton had a different approach. He said his two teenage boys avoided binge drinking because he instilled in them a respect of the law.

"The mental and physical effects of drinking are subjective" he said. "Bottom line is that it's illegal."

Friday, April 14, 2006 1:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hai. iam john. i visited last time your website. it was so nice. I read the following news article, below, is that many of the adults sending the message against substance abuse.Suffering from an addiction. This website has a lot of great resources and treatment centers.
Suffering from an addiction. This website has a lot of great resources and treatment centers. treatmentcenters

Saturday, May 31, 2008 7:12:00 PM  

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