On Sunday, February 25, 2018 beginning at 2:30 p, Holy Family Catholic Church located at 9100 Crockett Road/Brentwood, TN will host a panel to discuss teen substance abuse.
The event called “Breaking the Silence” is a joint effort of East Brentwood Presbyterian Church and Holy Family Catholic Church who have partnered with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to bring together professionals and individuals to start a dialogue with teens, parents and practitioners about what are the underlying issues leading to substance abuse in teens and young adults.
There will be a series of presentations and small group sessions to inform the audience about this growing epidemic as well as give those attending the opportunity to ask questions and share ideas, opinions and information with the group.
Some of the questions to be addressed:
- What are the real facts about teen substance abuse?
- How can experimentation lead to full blown addiction in the teen brain and unintended consequences including death?
- How does youth substance abuse impact relationships with family and friends?
- What is driving the increased use of more dangerous substances in young people?
- What are some healthier alternatives to dealing with stresses and anxieties affecting our young people than using drugs and alcohol?
- How can you get a friend or family member help without further escalating the problem and alienating the individual?
In the year 2016, 1,631 Tennesseans lost their lives due to overdose deaths. One of those 1,631 individuals was 24-year old son Alex Beatty, son of Brentwood residents Liz and Yarnell Beatty. He was also one of the 116 in this category who were between the ages of 15-24 (a 33% increase over the previous year).
Liz Beatty, one of the organizers of the event says, “He was a wonderful young man who struggled with addiction issues for a decade. Alex was within a semester of graduation from MTSU when he made the fatal mistake of self-medicating with 30mg Oxycontin and 10mg Xanax tablets that he bought off the street. Like many people he suffered from chronic anxiety, low self-esteem and sleep issues but didn’t want others to know about his internal battles. If he was still here with us, I’m sure he would be the first to admit that there had to be a better way to cope; however, he had fallen too deep into his addiction to see the light towards that healthier direction while he was alive.”
Beatty continued by saying “His passing left a ripple effect of grief and sorrow to the many people with whom he had crossed paths. It is in Alex’s honor, that his father Yarnell and I have been working so hard to get the word out about this very personal issue through a variety of outlets. Hopefully, this will be one of many events that will enlighten, inform and inspire everyone to get involved in an open, honest dialogue that will bring real and lasting change in the near future. Over the past year, I have been working with Dr. Monty Burks who heads the Faith-Based Initiative with the TN Dept. of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to find ways to break the public stigma that has kept this issue from being honestly discussed and addressed. I am proud that my congregation at East Brentwood Presbyterian Church and the leaders at Holy Family Catholic Church are supporting our efforts to educate the public and initiate a dialogue about what is driving our teens and young adults to drown their pain and anxiety with increasingly fatal substances. We are inviting members of the community (teens, parents and grandparents and practitioners who work with youth) to attend and bring others who may be affected by this epidemic. In just the short time since we announced plans for this event, we have started to hear some of the stories of ones struggling in our community. We hope that this is the beginning of shedding a light on the dark secrets that are plaguing our youth.”