Community drug abuse forum at The Key

The Union of Youth held a community drug abuse forum at The Key tonight. Approximately 50-60 people (equal number of youth and adults) met in four discussion groups led by youth moderators. After 15-20 minutes of discussion on each of three set topics, the moderators summarized their group’s conversation for the entire audience. The evening ended with an ‘open mic’ segment.

If you were there, add your impressions of/reactions to the meeting. I’ll add mine later.

See the album in the gallery or view this slideshow of 15 photos:


  1. Holly Cairns said:

    This was a great meeting. I understand they’ll post meeting minutes soon Northfield’s Union of Youth– The Key.

    I felt there were a lot of important things said– the group I was in didn’t talk a lot about numbers, police, or blame but instead focused on how to help kids.

    I heard that kids didn’t know how to find NHS’s Shippy (where is her office? and there is no sign on the door? And can we call her a “resource”)

    Also, kids don’t know about consequence. If they went to Shippy or a guidance counselor about drugs and using, would that mean there’d be an immediate consequence, and what is it?

    My thoughts on that– Sometimes not helping others or yourself can bring about a worse consequence than what the school might do… but I know that clarifying what Shippy etc. does, where she is, and what she can do will help in this situation.

    I think we should speak directly to students– notes home or in newspapers might not be read by kids.

    Thanks Josh Hinnenkamp and others– I was glad to be at the meeting and I think it was the right step. IMHO, arguing over numbers and pointing fingers at the police chief, etc. won’t help the kids who need something. SHAME ON US if we decide there isn’t a problem and we are already doing enough.

    July 18, 2007
  2. Sarah Hale said:

    I second Holly — this was a fantastic meeting. One of the things that I was most pleased about was the way in which the adults present allowed the kids to speak their voice and give their opinion on drug use, education, and abuse in Northfield. I think that what we need to do right now is stop pointing fingers and start discussing what we’re going to do about this. As the commentary in Saturday’s Northfield News says, “Energy spent blaming one another diverts us from the task of working together to find solutions.” What can we as a adults in this community do to help kids make healthy choices? What is best for kids in Northfield? I believe that this is the critical quesiton we need to be asking.

    July 18, 2007
  3. One of the positive things the community can do is to create a
    “Guide to Life”. While there can be no real guide to life, there
    can be a blog or book or of thoughts by young and old and everyone of
    ideas, suggestions, and stories that help people make a life for
    themselves. I am thinking of universal ideas that help humans
    in their striving for becoming the best human they can be.

    If everyone would put in one line or one paragraph or one page,
    we’d have something of which to be proud and something to refer
    to that comes from the people right here and right now. It might
    be valuable in more ways than one.

    We can set it up however we choose, perhaps Locally Grown wants
    to spearhead it, or I will offer to work with it, or someone
    else can offer even more.


    July 18, 2007
  4. Alex Beeby said:

    I went to this phenominal meeting. It was well worth missing the council meeting that evening.

    Many interesting comments were raised. Particularly:

    The health-class drug programs are a “joke” to students. Tobacco, alcohol, pot, meth, heroin and coke are all put on the same level. Kids see that they aren’t the same thing and, thus, question/disregard the whole class. A comparison was made to abstinance-only sex-ed classes, which are also seen as a joke.

    Well-meaning actions could be exacerbating the problem. Kids are afraid of seeking help because of our enforcement-focussed environment; they don’t want to be “turning themselves in.”

    When parent’s think their child’s friend is into drugs, they often forbid their child from seeing their friend. In this attempt to prevent a “bad” influence on their child, they block a “good” influence on the friend — not to mention cast drug prevention in an unfair light for their child.

    When a former addict returns from treatment, they are often ostricized from the positive influences due to stigmatizing. The only “friends” they, then, have are the ones they had when they got adicted. They are labled as bad people rather than good people making poor decisions.

    Parents, too, are in need of support when they feel helpless about their child’s problem. They recognise the problem and have tried many ways of addressing it, but find themselves running out of ideas and further isolated from the child they love.

    Solutions raised ranged from the “Red Door” program in the cities to simply providing positive environments and influences like the Key. The “Red Door” program is a safe and confidential place for people to go for help and counseling from professionals.

    There are many misconceptions about drug use and abuse. These inhibit prevention, and can actually contribute to the problem itself.

    It was great to see so many people there openly discussing the problem and possible solutions.

    July 18, 2007