A short video depicted blurred faces and distorted voices of local 15- to 19-year-olds who talked about drug and alcohol use in the community. One said students often went to school high and drunk.
Another teen described her fear of telling her mother about drugs and alcohol.
“I think if I did anything bad, that would give her an excuse to do something bad,” she said.
The Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition organized the meeting in an effort to educate the public on the problem, tapping the expertise of an addiction specialist, psychotherapist, educator, physician, Los Angeles County Superior Court judge and youth development coordinator.
The coalition was formed nearly seven months ago for that same reason, said the organization’s president, Howard Hakes.
The recent focus on drug and alcohol use in La Crescenta prompted staffers for Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich to meet with community stakeholders Monday at the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, where they discuss local drug and alcohol trends among the area’s youth, officials said.
They also went over the types of services, including treatment and education, available to families, said Tony Bell, a spokesman for Antonovich.
“Information is the key,” he said.
The group plans to meet again to discuss creating a neighborhood watch-style network, he said.
Drug and alcohol use is prevalent in La Crescenta, Bell said, but the area is not unlike other cities in Los Angeles County seeing the same trends.
Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa told the City Council last month that a Hollywood-based gang has played a major role in supplying heroin to teens in the area.
Gang members, he said, often give free drug samples to teens in an effort to get them hooked.
Some drug dealers have even shown the children how to use the drug, De Pompa said.
Smoking heroin, instead of injecting it, has been a commonly used technique among teens, he added.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Dave Silversparre, who’s based in La Crescenta, asked residents to be the community’s “eyes and ears.”
“We’ve got to work together,” he said.
Crescenta Valley High School has been showing the effects of teen substance abuse in the area.
So far this year, 38 suspensions related to the use of controlled substances have occurred throughout the Glendale Unified School District, 17 of which were at Crescenta Valley High, said Hank Paz, an administrator with the district.
And of the 20 students who were expelled from the district last school year for alcohol or drug use, nine were at Crescenta Valley High, he added.
School officials have seized LSD, Xanax, Ecstasy and chemical-based products at the school, Paz said.