RINGGOLD, Ga. — Parents gathered at Ringgold High School to share concerns Tuesday night and to come up with ways to battle prescription drug abuse by some children.
They found one of the best solutions to be letting their children do the talking.
A group of students volunteered to start a peer council and share the experiences of teen angst with their classmates.
“I’m a student. They will listen to me,” said Caleb Leslie, 15, who admitted he abused prescription drugs in the past. “What we need is to give kids something to do other than take drugs.”
Caleb said he talked with Ringgold High School administrators about adding recreational programs.
Parent Alan Broom said the peer council was the most well-received idea at Tuesday’s forum, which was attended by dozens of parents but closed to the media.
Mr. Broom said the forum was “very cathartic.”
The forum was called to address concerns raised since the March 1 overdosing death of Ringgold High School student Timothy Smith, 16. A 15-year-old classmate was charged with involuntary manslaughter for providing prescription painkillers to Timothy and three others who became ill after taking the drugs.
An unrelated student death occurred in February under similar circumstances, but authorities haven’t ruled it an overdose because toxicology reports are not complete.
Parent Chris Evans helped organize the forum. She said the meeting helped parents develop new ideas for how to monitor their children.
“We’ve got parents in there flushing these things, doing away with them, counting them,” Mrs. Evans said. “It’s responsibility on both sides of the fence.”
Among the ideas discussed at the forum was to lock teenagers’ car keys away after they come home at night, Mrs. Evans said. She said parents also discussed the importance of meeting their children’s friends and families.
The parents also discussed the boasting about drug use by a group of students using the online networking site MySpace. Mrs. Evans said some parents have talked about unplugging their computers.
“We want to keep (drugs) out of the school,” said parent Jeff Perry. “Parents have to come up with a plan, and execute it together.”