By Trevor Busch
The W.R. Myers Psychology Club will be hosting a community dialogue on drugs and drug abuse in the community on May 21 as part of the Drugs Over Dinner initiative.
“We’re going to have a very open, non-judgmental conversation about drugs and addiction, the idea being we have the conversation there, and then encourage people to go home and have that conversation at home over their own dinner tables,” said Zac Rhodenizer, family school liaison councellor at W.R. Myers High School.
The dinner conversation will be open to the public (although seating will be limited due to funding restrictions and other considerations) and Rhodenizer reported some funding has been secured for the event from Taber Community Against Drugs (TCAD), as well as other community organizations.
“Our kids are really excited about it, and we’re going to have seats for up to 50 people, and we wanted to invite the rest of the community,” said Rhodenizer, who indicated the event will take place at Myers at 5:30 on May 21.
“We’re still trying to get students into it, but we’ve got about 15 students that are involved in helping plan and facilitate. We’re going to have multiple tables, and there’s going to be at least one or two student representatives that will be guiding the conversation. We’ll also have people from the police and TCAD to help spread the conversation as well.”
Rhodenizer pointed out the Drugs Over Dinner initiative is an attempt to broach subjects in a family atmosphere that might not always be the most comfortable for parents.
“It’s an international initiative. The idea here is there’s some conversations that I think a lot of families and parents try to move away from, because they’re taboo, parents are nervous about having these conversations. This is an initiative to try to get people to talk about it more. It’s also to promote having dinner and talking, because statistics show that families that have dinner together on a regular basis, children are less likely to do drugs, and to abuse drugs. We had our psychology club here at the beginning of the year, and they thought it would be a neat idea where we could throw an event where we could promote this idea. We ended up getting some grant from some people, so we thought we’d go for it.”
Although far from characterizing a majority of the community’s youth as wholly engaged in unsavoury drug-related practices, Rhodenizer did suggest drugs and drug abuse amongst youth is always an issue.
An issue in any community no matter how lily-white its reputation.
“We have a lot of kids who don’t engage in it, so when I’m talking to my psychology club kids about some of the statistics, they’re pretty surprised,” said Rhodenizer. “There’s a lot of kids that don’t, but we have a lot of kids that do drugs, and we’ve had some pretty big scares — it’s not just marijuana. There’s MDMA, and other drugs that often get laced with other cheaper chemicals, so that the dealers can make a bigger profit. Those are really dangerous to take. We’ve got lots of kids in our community doing that.”
As the cost of alcohol continues to escalate, Rhodenizer admitted the option of acquiring drugs over alcohol may be cheaper, casting doubt on what has sometimes been considered a more traditional teenage problem.
“In some ways, yes. In fact, I was talking to a student about it, and it’s actually cheaper for them to get high than it is to get drunk. You can get MDMA and split it up between a few friends, and it may only cost you $20 to get high, whereas to get alcohol because they’re still underage may cost them more. So they’re resorting to drugs because it’s cheaper,” said Rhodenizer.
For more information on the Drugs Over Dinner initiative being planned for the community on May 21, contact Rhodenizer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s not going to be your typical drug conversation,” said Rhodenizer. “It’s meant to be a non-judgmental conversation. We’re not going to be pro-drug, of course, but it’s not necessarily going to be anti-drugs, either. We just want to talk and allow people to express their opinions no matter where they stand on the issue, and have an open conversation over a meal.”