Parents looking for answers filled the seats of First Christian Church in Huntington Beach last night, as the Huntington Beach Union High School District offered a drug talk.

The program was held in the wake of the overdose of 18-year-old Tyler Macleod.

The first speaker was Senior Pastor Bruce Templeton, who opened the event with a few heartfelt words.

Next to speak was the Superintendent of SBUHSD schools, Dr. Greg Plutko.

The Dr. Bill Beacham took the stage and began to discuss how and when teens turn to drugs.

He reported that the average age of teens trying alcohol or drugs is now 14 years old, and the concern is that at that age, the use of substances will alter the brain.

Beacham gave three destinations for teens who abuse drugs. They will either end up in treatment, jail, or the morgue.

Dr. Bill Beacham discusses the phases of chemical dependency before a crowd of parents at the First Christian Church in Huntington Beach.

He explained that kids get sicker quicker, that the prefrontal cortex isn’t really developed until a human is 19-20 years old.

Dr. Beacham covered the phases of susbtance dependency and how like a concussion, the prefrontal cortex needs 6 to 9 months to heal from substance abuse.

He explained that “hangover” is a glamorized term for overdose, and that you see the changes in a teen through the phases of chemical dependency.

Kids set rules about their drug use. It begins as experimentation. Then they begin to bend the rules, using at school when they vowed they never would. Ultimately, kids lose their rules altogether, as the substance abuse controls them and dictates their need to abuse drugs constantly.

He discussed a weapon for parents to detect the teen experimentation: the Teensavers Home Drug Test Kit.  For information on the Teensavers Home Drug Test Kit

Dr. Bill Beacham holds up a Teensavers Home Drug Test Kit to parents and explains how the 12-panel test gives parents instant results for up to 12 different substance classifications.

Dr. Beacham then told parents that addicts, especially teen addicts will resort to three behaviors to mask their addiction.

Denial: They refuse to acknowledge that they are abusing a substance.

Minimization: They believe that their use is under control and not a problem in their life.

Projection: They blame others for their downfalls, and blame others for blowing their addiction out of proportion.

Dr. Beacham closed the session with models of prevention for parents.

He said the kids need to have a tool kit and they come in a series of steps:

Dr. Bill Beacham discusses his steps to empower parents at a community anti-drug meeting held Monday, October 29th at the First Christian Church of Huntington Beach.

One of the key elements that Beacham believes will help the community is with an anti-drug coalition involving faith, law enforcement, school, and families.

Beacham referred to coalitions making an impact in other communities, and how they’ve helped develop laws like social hosting ordinances which will cost parents fines for allowing teen parties at their homes.

The message was well received, and hopefully Huntington Beach takes more strides against teen and youth drug abuse.

There is one place parents can get answers, and that’s Saturday November 3rd at Edison High School. Parents and students can get information at Real, and event sponsored by parents in Huntington Beach.

REAL, an event held this Saturday at Edison High School.