Drug Free Coalition informs parents
By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer
CALERA – Parents and community members alike learned about the effects of drugs and alcohol and the symptoms displayed by adolescents under their influence.
Lonnie Layton, a community representative for Bradford Health Services, said he was “off the clock” as he represented the Shelby County Drug Free Coalition to bring drug- and alcohol-related information to attendees.
“That I know of, 14 kids died in the last two years with drug- and alcohol-related issues. We’ve had three since spring break,” Layton said. “I do what I do because I feel God is calling me to make a difference in people’s lives.”
During a forum held at Concord Baptist Church in Calera May 16, Layton said the number-one gateway drug is tobacco.
“We find that parents not willing to fight the tobacco battle are not willing to fight other battles,” he said.
The two most commonly used substances are alcohol and marijuana, and adolescents are beginning to smoke marijuana a lot earlier than past generations, Layton said.
“What they’re exposed to has changed,” he said. “Parents have changed. The life we’ve lived has changed. The good influence you are on your kid pales with what they’re bombarded with in the world.”
Layton said more than 1,400 household chemicals can be used as inhalants to make kids high, including hairspray, cleaning fluids, nail polish remover, cooking spray and more.