Wednesday, December 19, 2012

QV Provides Resources for Family Response to Tragedy

In light of the Sandy Hook school tragedy last week, Quaker Valley Superintendent Dr. Joseph H. Clapper is encouraging families in the district to discuss the tragic event with their children. He has provided some valuable resources in order to aid these talks.  Family discussions are an important part of grieving, healing, and understanding. Knowledge is a vital tool to prevention and safety for the future.

Talking with Kids about News
Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

Quaker Valley encourages students and parents to feel comfortable and obliged to share any threatening or troubling information with teachers, counselors, school administrative officials, or law enforcement officials.  Communication is essential in fostering safety in this community.  Anonymous reports can be given to the school district's tipline at 412-749-3633.

In a recent parent letter, Dr. Clapper said, "The events that unfolded on Friday are deeply troubling- especially for young children. Although we cannot makes sense of such a violent act against children, we must do our very best to provide care and reassurance. Please watch your child carefully for any indications that he/she may be struggling emotionally. Our school counselors are here to help our students as well as their parents as we work together to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Heroin Addiction Has A New Face in Pittsburgh

Heroin addiction is a disease that has been described as "the silent killer".  A stereotype exists which says that heroin users are only found in poor, crime-ridden inner-city neighborhoods.  However, this stereotype is no longer a true reality. The Allegheny County Health Department recently reported that in the past ten years, the number of drug overdose deaths, including heroin, have tripled in the Pittsburgh region.  Overdose deaths have taken 261 lives this year so far.  The bulk of these statistics actually come from the suburbs of the city, not urban locations.  The face of heroin use is changing, as the drug is now crossing class, culture, neighborhood, and age demographics.

Heroin is an extremely addictive and destructive drug that is becoming increasingly easier to obtain.  It is defying all former stereotypes as a "gang drug" and is growing in scope and danger.  Many strains available on the streets today, brought into the country from Central Asia, are significantly stronger and more dangerous than the heroin that was on the street in recent years.

Raising awareness about the spread of the disease of heroin addiction can only help families in our region.  Dr. Neil A. Capretto, medical director of Gateway Rehabilitation Center, reported that there have been more heroin overdoses this year than at any other point in Western Pennsylvania's history.  So far there have been over 90 heroin-related deaths in Allegheny County this year.  Of this count, 60% came from the Pittsburgh suburbs.  Regardless of where these deaths are coming from, each is avoidable and efforts should be made to stand against heroin abuse, whether that is in the city or in the suburbs.

It is necessary to address the fact that heroin is a real danger to this community, especially for at-risk youth.  It is our responsibility to raise awareness about the danger of heroin, as well to take practical safeguards and precautions to prevent any more overdose deaths from occurring.  The face of heroin is changing, as should our action against it.

For the original news story from WTAE, click here.