Barnstable Youth Commission Hosts Substance Abuse Forum

Tim Dunn/

HYANNIS – A forum focused on substance abuse in the community was held by Barnstable officials on Wednesday in an effort to further battle substance abuse in the area.

The Barnstable Youth Commission and the Barnstable Police Department’s Community Impact Unit partnered to host the forum. The program, accordingly titled the Community Substance Abuse Prevention Forum, featured a panel discussion and offered resources to those in attendance.

The forum was divided into four areas: ‘Red Flags – Signs and Equipment’, ‘Familiarize Yourself – What is Out There?’, and ‘Household Products You May Not Know Are Dangerous’, ending with a question and answer session with police officers.

“This is Barnstable Youth Commission’s fifth year running this. The whole idea is to get the community together so they can understand what’s really going on. The youth have been collaborating with the Barnstable Police Department and telling them what’s really going on, what’s happening on the bus or at parties, what kids are being forced into things that they shouldn’t be getting involved In,” said Patty Machado, a supporter of the Barnstable Youth Commission.

Barnstable Assistant Recreational Director John Gleason says peer pressure is still a big factor in whether or not a young person may experiment with drugs or alcohol.

“This stuff is growing fast and it’s going around a lot. There’s new stuff every day, so I think it’s good for parents to keep in touch with what’s going on,” said Ethan Sirhal, a member of the Barnstable Youth Commission.

“Tonight is about just educating parents, teachers, whoever wants to come about illicit substances going around in school, whether that’s Jewels or weed, really anything, and giving them an education about what their kids might be doing and what they’re exposed to.”

Machado says that while the forum and other events hosted by the commission are effective for parents of teenagers, she says the forum needs more community involvement.

“Everyone that’s come has said it’s the best thing they ever came to and that everybody should come. Those that don’t come miss out, and no, we don’t get the community that we need to get in here. Most of the people in here are involved,” Machado said.

“The Town of Barnstable Youth Commission is comprised of a group of kids from all over town that get together and they look at things that need to be addressed. Their number one priority is prevention of drugs and alcohol that was their number one thing since the forum was created.”

The program was held at the Hyannis Youth & Community Center. It was free and open to the public.

By TIM DUNN, News Center

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