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What Can Be Learned About Drug Use in Wilmington?

Wilmington Patch is working on a multiple-part series on drugs in town, and we want to know what you hope to learn from the series.

Drug addiction is an issue that many in Wilmington and beyond wrestle with, and it’s a topic that has come to the forefront locally after police dealt with multiple overdoses in recent months.

“It is disconcerting to see how prevalent drugs, particularly prescription drugs, have become,” said Town Manager Michael Caira.

In the near future, Wilmington Patch will be running a multiple-part series featuring a variety of stories looking at drug use in Wilmington, how it can be stopped, and more.

So far, Caira, Police Chief Michael Begonis, Board of Selectmen chairman Mike Newhouse and Wilmington High School principal Eric Tracy have all given their insight on the topic for the articles.

“It’s certainly nothing new,” said Begonis. “We’re seeing young kids that come from great families with no issues, mom and dad both at home, falling prey to this.”

With work already underway for Patch’s upcoming series on drug use, we want to hear from you. We want to know what you hope to learn and read about as we look into this topic.

Is there someone in particular whose voice you’d like to hear in the story? Is there an angle you really hope that we cover? Do you have a personal story that you would like to share?

Whatever thoughts you have, we want you to share them with us. You can leave your ideas in the comments section below, or e-mail them to Local Editor Matt Schooley. Have more to say? You can also call (978) 761-9473 to speak about what you want to see in the stories.

“It’s something we need to be cognizant of,” said Newhouse. “From my perspective as a selectmen, a resident and a parent, it’s something that we need to figure out the bigger picture of.”

Concerned Parent September 04, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I believe that it needs to start at the Middle School age group..they are becoming more easily influenced in to 'trying' drugs and if you can't stop it at that age group by the time they become high school students they are possibly too far gone. WHS has a program (The Wildcat Project) that they have implemented by a grant (not sure if it's still being utilized) that needs to trickle down to the middle school children. Parents can do what they can at home but our children spend almost 7 hours a day in an environment that unfortunately is crawling with drugs. The Superintendent needs to open her eyes and see that this is an issue right here in Wilmington, it's just as important as Bullying but that seems to be the only thing she focuses on.
jeff September 04, 2012 at 08:03 PM
I submitted an email to you as well, but I will comment here. The concerns of Wilmington are mirrored across America's neighborhoods. The kids get the message at school, but parents are not reinforcing the message. We created the Teensavers Home Drug Test Kit to provide parents help in not only detecting the problem, but solving it. The man behind the test, is Steve Stahovich, a former teen addict, who ran treatment centers after gaining sobriety. Parents cannot be with their children 24 hours a day, and they can't rely on educators to parent them either. Kids who start at jobs will often be high on the job. As long as they are at work, most employers cannot tell if drug use is happening. Both webmom and concerned parent make great points. Something needs to be done in the community. In Missouri, we partnered up with the sheriff's department and pd on a program that provides free drug tests to families. The tests are subsidized by confiscated drug money. Parents now are able to take home the tool to help ensure that their child is clean. It also empowers teens to fight off peer pressure by saying, "I can't try drugs. My parents home drug test me." Perhaps these city and school leaders will take notice of something like this. We need proactivity.
webmom September 05, 2012 at 12:57 PM
There is a program that starts even younger, the DARE project starts in the 4th grade. Kids graduate the proram in the 5th grade.
Mary Giroux September 05, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Jeff, Drug testing is an excellent idea but, having spent some time with addicts, they know how to fool them. They are very clever manipulators once they start using. I say do whatever it takes. Drug test, education, seminars where former addicts tell their story. Educate yourself on what drug paraphernalia looks like and the characteristics you need to look for when you suspect your child is using. This is a widespread problem. An epidemic. We are losing our children either to jail, or death and it has to stop. I hope Wilmington gets proactive on this and launches a program to save our kids. I am all for it and would love to help. This is a very personal and painful topic for me.
Kathleen B. Reynolds September 07, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Drug testing is a great idea - and it could be implemented in homes when parents start talking to their kids about any and all values and house rules. Any program should definitely be implemented in the middle school and even fifth grade. Drug users need to be invited to any public/community forum - without fear of retribution or judgment. Otherwise, it's just more preaching to the choir. Utilizing a student representative from the Rotary is not a bad idea, but those kids are not the ones who need to be targeted. It is the kids who have issues at home, in school (alternative and Wilmington's public), with juvenile records, etc. Members of the healthcare community or someone who can explain opiate addiction should participate at the forum. (The CAB program at Tewksbury Hospital has just reopened.) Understanding how opiates effect a user differently than alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs would be immensely helpful to parents, caregivers, school administrators, law enforcement, etc. Most addicts are not using to get high, but to keep from getting sick from withdrawal. Parents or siblings of addicts could present their experiences. We are all one another's neighbors and we should be willing to support one another. Users are someone's son or daughter, brother or sister, classmate, or teammate. They shouldn't be judged.

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