Substance abuse chooses not its victims. Even kids who have relatively higher socioeconomic standings in the community still succumb to the problem.
It’s unfortunate that most parents in beach cities don’t know their kids well enough to recognize when trouble is looming. According to Hermosa Beach psychologist Greg Allen, kids go through drug overdoses, car accidents and criminal activities without their parents knowing about it.
In South Bay where Allen works as a teen counselor, teens get stressed as much is expected from them and in most cases, they turn to drugs or alcohol to help them cope with the situation.
“Kids used to get into drug use because of peer pressure, to fit in with friends. Now it’s trying to cope with stress. Society doesn’t have a lot of healthy ways to blow off stress, so they turn to substance abuse, fast driving. … They’re excited to try something dangerous.”
Yet parent communities in the area choose to ignore the reality that their kids are having trouble. With enough financial support that they provide to their children, accessibility to different types of drugs and illicit substances can be easier for the kids.
This is why Allen is working with Manhattan Beach School Resource Officer John Loy, Beach Cities Health District representative Sandi Conley, and lawyer George Bird to talk to parents about teen issues in the upcoming “State of our Teens” forum to be held at the Manhattan Beach library on Wednesday. “It’s really alcohol, drugs and sex,” he said.
Allen claims that most parents in beach cities are, in fact, hands-on parents and see to it that their families are well, yet most kids still see their way when it comes to substance abuse. Thus Allen and local attorney Bird will be bringing their talks to more South Bay areas to get more parents involved.
“There is no more pressing concern that we have than the health and well-being of our children,” Bird said.