I returned to the LCHS 7th grade for the first time since January. After talking with the kids about all the things going around around the campus recently, we got into a discussion on drug abuse and addiction. Overtaken is a short documentary produced by two Orange County mothers, Jodi Barber and Christine Brant, about the dangers of abusing drugs such as marijuana, ecstasy and opiates (heroin and prescription painkillers). Jodi lost her son to an accidental drug overdose in 2010.
The video is a series of interwoven interviews with former drug addicts talking about their experiences and what motivated them to seek help. The people featured in the video are all from a small beach community in Orange County that suffered a large number of drug overdoses over a short time period. The reason I think this video is very appropriate to show to the kids in La Canada/Flintridge is the similarity in demographics. Many of the people in the video grew up in terrific neighborhoods and went to great public schools or exclusive private schools, and for one reason or another they were turned onto experimenting with drugs at a young age. These decisions changed their lives forever.
I picked up this video at a California PTA convention a few years ago, and had a chance to hear two of the people featured in the video speak (Asia, the former cheerleader, and Jodi Barber). The stories are very powerful, and asked the students to learn from these stories instead of creating these problems for themselves.
The stories in this video also allow me to talk about the differences between drug abuse (anyone that misuses a drug on a particular occasion) and how that can also lead to addiction (repeatedly abusing a drug despite all the negative consequences). Its certainly not a happy discussion, but there is a lot of perspective for the kids to learn from and hopefully use to make good decisions.