Letter: Ridgefield is not alone in facing substance abuse

To the Editor:

The Ridgefield Prevention Council thanks the community for attending the recent Substance Abuse Community Forum to learn more about substance abuse issues in Ridgefield. We would also like to thank our co-sponsor, the Ridgefield Library, for its support, and our panelists for sharing their time and experience. The goal of the Eyes Wide Open forum was to raise awareness of issues of substance use and abuse in our town, create momentum toward positive change, and provide resources and information to the community.

The issue of teen drug and alcohol use is relevant in Ridgefield, neighboring towns, and all over the country. As our panelists said, we are not unique in facing these issues and we are not alone in facing these issues. The council has been addressing and continues to address these issues in conjunction with many community partners. We do this through a strategic plan including parent, youth and community education, consistent messaging about the dangers of youth substance use, and support for programs that benefit the health and well-being of Ridgefield youth and families.  

Drug and alcohol use by teens is a serious issue that hurts our youth and our community.  

We know from experience and research that youth marijuana and alcohol use, while sometimes seen as a rite of passage, can do real damage to teens’ developing brains, can endanger their safety, and often leads to more risky behavior. The concerns that were raised at the recent forum motivate us to work harder, and we hope motivates the community to be more involved in this effort as well.  

This is a community problem that we can come together as a community to solve. We welcome your support and involvement. You can find more information about RPC efforts and contact the RPC through our website, www.ridgefieldpreventioncouncil.org.

We work closely in our prevention efforts with the Ridgefield Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse (RCCASA).

Karen Facini, Tim Hastings, Carolyn Knupp

Margaret Stamatis, Tizzie Mantione

Alan Eskenazi, Lou Ann Daprato

Paul Lukaszewski, Ellen Brezovsky (Silver Hill)

Laura Cleary (RCCASA)