LOS ANGELES, Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- B.I.L.Y. (Because I Love You), an international 32-year old non-profit dedicated to supporting parents and helping them develop solid parenting skills, will convene the first ever Heroin Kills Symposium focused on the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles on Thursday, January 16th beginning at 6:30 PM at Granada Hills Charter High School, 10535 Zelzah Ave., Granada Hills, CA 91344.
The San Fernando Valley, home to 1.8 million people, has often been referred to as America's largest and most racially diverse suburb, the middle class backbone of Los Angeles. The last decade has seen an astronomical rise in the use of heroin in this community, particularly because Mexican black tar heroin is available in a form that can be smoked and need not be injected. A spike has also occurred in the use of smoke-able marijuana-heroin blends. A flood of "Valley" parents have turned to B.I.L.Y in the last several years for help in the wake of discovering the shocking and bewildering fact that their child is a heroin addict.
"We want parents and, really, the entire Valley community to learn the shocking truth about teen heroin use in the San Fernando Valley. Every 19 minutes someone dies from a heroin overdose in our country. It is one of the most easily accessible drugs for our youth in our nation today, and it is cheap and easy to come by in the Valley, too. We all need to come to grips with that," said Dennis Poncher, author and Founder of B.I.L.Y.
The low cost of Mexican black tar heroin in Southern California, and its high availability, along with the ease of access to opiate-based prescription pain killers, are direct threats to teens and young adults in the San Fernando Valley community. Studies show that a small amount of heroin use immediately places the user at a higher risk of addiction. If treatment and support are not forthcoming, addiction frequently leads to a fatal drug overdose in the years following first use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that deaths from drug overdose have been rising steadily over the past two decades and that drug overdose has become the leading cause of injury death in the United States. According to a 2005 Los Angeles County Department of Public Health report, drug overdose was the #1 cause of premature death for white Los Angeles County residents 25-44 years old and the #2 cause of premature death for black females 25-44 years old. Drug overdose was among the top 5 leading causes of premature death in the San Fernando Valley. The Los Angeles County Coroner's 2010 Annual Report finds that 95% of all deaths involving heroin were the result of accidental overdose. Drugs were implicated in 39% (997) of a total of 2,544 accidental deaths cited in the report. Per the CDC, drug overdoses caused more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes for people 25 to 64 years old.
The Symposium, which is free to attend, will feature Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander, Paramedic Ray Schiller, Cary Quashen from Action Family Counseling, Dr. Jeffrey Abrahams from Northridge Hospital, Detectives James Williams and Robert Collier of the Los Angeles Police Department's Devonshire Division, B.I.L.Y. parents with their current recovering heroin addicts and a mother who lost her child to heroin addiction. Additional resources about recovery and counseling organizations will be available.
About B.I.L.Y. (Because I Love You)
B.I.L.Y. (Because I Love You) is a 32-year-old non-profit organization dedicated to supporting parents and helping them develop solid parenting skills with troubled or challenging children of any age. Founded by Dennis Poncher in 1982, the organization, which has helped over 800,000 families over the past three decades, promotes structure, consequences and consistency in raising children and managing interactions with adult children. B.I.L.Y. was started by Poncher with just eight parents and has grown to 24 locations throughout North America and Canada. B.I.L.Y. has helped parents deal with issues as complex and diverse as drugs, runaways, truancy, criminal activity, gangs, verbal and physical abuse, curfew, dress codes, problem friends as well issues involving blended families. The organization has also helped with matters as basic yet important as responsibility, success in school, and cleanliness. Several thousand parents and youth have attended the B.I.L.Y. program, which has a remarkable 90% success rate and remains 100% volunteer-led and free to all participants. Parents have seen runaways return home, truants have returned to school and graduated, children who were dependent on substances have become clean and sober and families have been reunited. www.bily.org
Contact: Rachel Schwartz/PR AdvantEDGE Inc.
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