Teens in Port Angeles Form a Group Against Drug Abuse, “Hope After Heroin”
A group of four teens from Port Angeles, Washington are stepping forward to do something about the growing drug abuse problem in their community.
Peninsula Daily News reports that the 16 and 17 year old teenaged founders of “Hope After Heroin” have all experienced the effects of substance abuse in one way or another. So, instead of spending a school-free day in a way typical of high school friends, Makiah Sperry, Caitlin Balser, Chante Robideau, and Micah Nichols created posters and invited friends to help them clean Hollywood Beach.
“We invited everyone we thought would benefit from it,” Nichols said. The resulting group of 23 students from nearby elementary, middle, and high schools spent their Friday cleaning trash from the beach and along the Olympic Discovery Trail.
During the clean up the group discovered 20 syringes and other drug paraphernalia, which were gathered and discarded by the seven adult volunteers through Clallam County Health and Human Services. They also gathered six full garbage bags of trash from the beach and hope to host regular beach clean-ups and other events.
On October 11th the volunteers that participated in the clean-up gathered at a local pizzeria to celebrate their success as well as plan for future events.
Tina Sperry, mother of Makiah and co-founder of “Hope After Heroin” says they hope to help young people sponsor their peers whom are recovering from substance abuse as well as help prevent drug abuse and remedy the effects substance abuse has on the community.
“A lot of people write off drug users, but there are many out there who can recover and return to a sober life,” Makiah said. She has personal experience watching the effects of drugs on a former boyfriend, who inspired her to do something about the problem in Port Angeles’ young community.
Her mother added, “They are not a lost cause. Just because you use, that doesn’t mean you are a bad person. That’s not who they are when they’re not using.”
Plans are forming to begin a teen-specific outreach hotline, partnership with local law enforcement, rallies, and other community events are in the works.
Do you think teen organizations can help prevent other teens from abusing drugs? Let us know what you think!
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About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.