WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Educating the community on substance misuse. That was the goal of a meeting at Port City Community Church Monday geared toward parents, educators, and mentors of 5th to 12th grade students.
The educational forum focused on the development of the teen brain, effects of substance abuse, and signs and symptoms of use.
A New Hanover County Schools group called the Substance Misuse Awareness Project, or SMAP, partnered with Coastal Horizons and Trillium Health Resources to make it happen.
Port City Community Church high school coordinator Geoffrey Banks says he has firsthand experience with addiction, which helps him better understand the signs.
“It’s not really a question of like, if your student will encounter drugs anymore, it’s when,” Banks said. “That’s just a reality that we’re facing today. So it’s definitely helped knowing what it’s like to be around it and to go through it and to come out on the other side of it.”
Banks says he believes things are moving in the right direction.
“I think the great thing about now is that we’ve acknowledged it,” Banks said. “10 or 15 years ago, it was something we swept under the rug, nobody wanted to talk about if their kid used drugs or whatever, everybody wanted to hide it. And now, its so prevalent that you can’t hide it anymore, so it’s out on the table, we’re talking about the issue, we’re doing something about it, which is a great start.”
150-200 people were expected to attend the event. Banks says he’d like to have another program like this geared towards middle and high schoolers rather than their parents.