Long Beach Hosts Drug Awareness Meeting

Community leaders in Long Beach organized a town meeting to talk about drug awareness and education.

A recent survey of students found some alarming statistics. Among the findings of that confidential questionnaire: 9 percent of Long Beach 8th graders have tried cocaine. Nearly one in four 10th graders have smoked marijuana.

Parents and community leaders are meeting to learn more about the drug problem and how they can keep their children safe.

Cindy Hodges is involved in the front lines of drug abuse education. The Long Beach DARE officer would like to see more parents involved with drug awareness and education.

"If the parents become more involved, that will show the students or the children that their parents are there to listen to them and they may be more likely to talk to their parent," Hodges said.

Brenda Marshall says drug awareness should be a concern for all parents. The mother of four doesn't see evidence of a serious problem in Long Beach.

"I would say that we don't have much of a problem. It seems like a very good community to raise a family. And personally I have not seen anything that shows we have a problem."

Her daughter graduated from Long Beach High last year and steered clear of peer pressure to try drugs.

"Depends on what group you hang out with really. Certain groups you have to do certain things to fit in. And I wasn't really in either group. So it wasn't really that hard for me," Crystal Marshall said.

High School students we talked with say the meeting of parents and community leaders is a good idea. But they don't believe the drug problem here is as bad as some might believe.

"I've never been pressured, but the first time I ever say marijuana was on campus here my ninth grade year," Patrice Jones said.

The students don't put much confidence in the results of a confidential survey that found evidence of widespread drug use. But they support the call for parents to be better informed.

"It's always a good thing to have the adults, who are the main influence on a child's life, to have some knowledge of the situation and what could happen," senior Jonathan Hart said.