Reminder: Drug and alcohol use by minors at Hiawatha and WS High prompts community meeting Oct.10

The Admiral Neighborhood Association has shared a letter from Stephanie Aird who is organizing a community meeting to address concerns about alcohol and drug use by minors near the Hiawatha Playfield and West Seattle High School. The meeting is Oct. 10 in the WS High School library at 7pm.

Here is Aird's letter:

To whom it may concern,

There are a group of parents along with myself, and many other community members who are becoming very aware of drug / alcohol issues that are out of control at Hiawatha and West Seattle High School. Unfortunately our family has been directly affected and we are very determined to make it STOP! There is a group of us who in collaboration with Mike Graham-Squire (cc'd here) from the Neighborhood House have arranged to have a community meeting to discuss these issues. I have attached an email (see at the bottom) from Mike to give an outline of what we are trying to tackle. Here is a list of who we are asking to attend:

WSHS PTSA (confirmed)
Madison PTSA
WSHS Principal
Madison MS Principal
Madison MS Counselor or Health Nurse
WSHS Counselor
Hiawatha Community Center
ACRS Drug/Alcohol Counsleors at WSHS
Safeway Manager
Seattle Police Dept – Officer Flores (confirmed)
Seattle Neighborhood Group
Seattle Public School Health/Wellness Dept.
Admiral Neighborhood Assoc.

If you have any questions, you are more than welcome to contact me at any time. Our meeting will be held on October 10th at the West Seattle High School Library at 7pm.

Mike Graham-Squire, Drug Free Communities Manager at Neighborhood House has responded with a list of the issues and potential solutions.

Here is Graham-Squire's response:

Thanks for your concern and involvement in preventing kids from using drugs and alcohol around Hiawatha Park and West Seattle High School.

It takes a community approach to tackle this issue and although it is a big task there are small things we can do.

Step one is that you can’t do it alone so we have to involve as many people as we can (businesses, schools, parks, police, community councils, PTSA, YMCA).

Step two is to identify the specific problems around the school. Some that you mentioned are:
1. Sales/theft of alcohol from Safeway that ends up in the hands of minors
2. Drug selling at Hiawatha play field
3. Cough syrup/Over The Counter Medication abuse by youth (purchase at Safeway?)
4. Marijuana use at Hiawatha Park

Once we have identified some specific problems we can figure out some tangible solutions such as:

1. Sales/theft of alcohol from Safeway that ends up in the hands of minors
a. Solution – talk to Safeway about product placement, keeping locked cabinets, ID, loss prevention measures
b. Solution – multiple community members file complaints with Liquor Control Board for more enforcement/compliance checks
c. Solution – SPD patrols for shoulder tapping/selling to minors

2. Drug selling at Hiawatha play field
a. Solution – multiple community members call SPD non-emergency line to report drug selling in progress (206) 625-5011
b. Solution – work with SPD officers who patrol that area or Madison/West Seattle HS
c. Solution – Community watch/walk on a regular basis

3. Cough syrup/Over The Counter Medication abuse by youth (purchase at Safeway?)
a. Solution – talk to Safeway about product placement, keeping behind counter or locked up, loss prevention measures
b. Educating youth on the dangers of this. I couple of facebook posts by kids with a link to a website or story… http://www.dxmstories.org/robo_tripping.html or could go viral if it comes from the kids and not adults…
c. Educating parents. Similarly an email or blog post from a parents could get forwarded, could have link to this webmd article: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/teen-abuse-cough-medicine-9/teens-and-dxm...

4. Marijuana use at Hiawatha Park
a. Solution – multiple community members call SPD non-emergency line to report drug selling in progress (206) 625-5011
b. Solution - work with Community Center and School Security/Administration on patrols/enforcement

As we mentioned a good next step might be to set up a community meeting at the one of the schools or at the Community Center later this month and we can help invite folks and/or facilitate as needed.

The other thing to do would be to try to get at more of the root cause of the problem and be proactive this could include:
- Parent Education/Support
- Student education. – possibly working with Madison Middle School
- Student led prevention clubs or other prevention activities at the school
- Media/Advertising campaigns
- Getting involved in the rule making process for legal marijuana sales and medical marijuana laws to reduce youth access.

And here is the link to Seattle Neighborhood Group: http://sngi.org/welcome/index.php
From their website: how to report drug dealing in your neighborhood: http://www.seattle.gov/police/contact/reporting/nars.htm

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