Monday, January 25, 2016

Personalizing the Face of Addiction

Academic Decathlon Team Wins: It might be cold outside, but our Academic Decathlon Team is HOT! Over the weekend they won team gold for the Section III Academic Decathlon Championship. In two weeks they will head to the state competition with part of their minds set on another national championship experience. Congratulations to our team members and their coaches!

Personalizing the Face of Addiction: At 5:30 p.m. last Thursday night, I held a packet of heroin in my hand. Before you stop reading and call the Camillus police, you should know that I was WITH the Camillus police. They were one of our twenty expo participants who were on hand before our community forum on substance abuse that was attended by close to seven hundred people. 

I have never seen heroin in person let alone held it. In my role as a superintendent I have seen and held alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, synthetic drugs, and THC liquid that people heat and smoke in a device called a “vape”. Never heroin.

The heroin I held would have fit on a postage stamp and was an off-white colored thin layer of powder. It couldn’t talk. The people impacted by that postage stamp sized layer of powder spoke volumes. I have never been a part of a more powerful, grassroots forum. Ever. If you were there, you are now impacted for life. Life. 

Presenters told stories of tragedy, loss, pain, hope, and treatment so eloquently that each main presenter received a well deserved standing ovation. Each story began with how a supportive family and money still led to alcohol, pill, and heroin abuse, and how quickly it can happen. 

On our website are links to the presentations and the program for the evening so you can see how many people came together to make the evening special, just click here to view them. (Videos will be posted later this week.) There are dozens of people to thank and any level of appreciation that I can give is not enough.  

We administered a survey after the event and the coalition will be meeting again soon to review the results and plan more targeted sessions in the future. We also plan to roll out portions of the forum to our students. They need to hear it.

Come Talk with the Superintendent: This week is the rescheduled Dialogue with the Superintendent. It will be held on Tuesday, January 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the West Genesee High School Large Group Instruction room.  Hope to see you there.

Thanks for your support and enjoy the week!