Drug Problems In Long Beach Cause Concern

Everyone probably agrees: our young people are dying of drug overdoses far too often. Just this year alone, it has happened in Long Beach seven times.

Now, the question is being asked, why? Sadly, there are no easy answers. Father Louis Lohan of St. Thomas Catholic Church in Long Beach, has buried seven parishoners in the past year who died drug related deaths.

He said, "I find it absolutely heartbreaking, to know they are growing up good innocent little children and then all of a sudden something happens."   The Reverend said it is his hope and prayer, that the children of today, don't grow up to be the drug abusers of tomorrow.

Leonard Carrubba has been a parishoner at St. Thomas for many years. He and his wife are the parents of four children, with the oldest being twelve. Carrubba has heard the stories of teens dying of drug overdoses. With his four kids, the lessons have started early.

He says, "We are already talking to them about drugs telling them they are out there in the world, and they need to be careful of who they choose to be their friends."

14 year old Long Beach High freshmen Shea Hammons says she does not do drugs or alcohol, but, she estimates probably 60 percent of her fellow students do. What is even more troubling is, Hammon's says the message is not getting through, even when fellow classmates have died.

"They feel bad for a little while, then they move on because they are still doing stuff," she added.

Like Father Louis Lohan, Father Jim Julius has presided over far too many funerals of teen's who overdosed. He hopes it doesn't happen again, but, he knows it will.

"There is going to be a lot more, and trust me, as clergy, we feel an incredible sense of sorrow. It is very, very sad," he said.

Father Julius and Father Lohan say they will soon start an outreach program for teens addicted to drugs and alcohol. For more information contact St. Thomas Catholic Church in Long Beach.