TNCAP substance abuse town hall meeting on October 19

Rhenecia Perry, TNCAP community organizer, has been working with students from Lehman Campus schools. Their perspectives will be shared at the organization’s first town hall meeting on Wednesday, October 19. The sign reminds students that teen drinking can lead to drug abuse.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

The Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership will be hosting the first town hall in the organization’s nearly two-decade history.

TNCAP, a coalition of community groups, schools and elected officials, will be hosting the ‘Town Hall Meeting In Action’ with students from the Lehman Educational Campus and Preston High School at Preston on Wednesday, October 19 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The purpose of the forum, which is open to the entire community, is to hear from youth about underage drinking and to engage the community on teen substance abuse, including marijuana and other drugs, said Janit Bliss, TNCAP coordinator of programming.

“We want to hear the voices of the youth in terms of what they are seeing and what their perceptions are,” said Bliss.

The forum is funded by a $500 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health, said Bliss.

Senator Jeff Klein will be the keynote speaker, and he said that the event would be similar to a town-hall meeting he hosted with the Morris Park Community Association in September, after three heroin overdoses occurred there in a short time period.

At this town hall, topics discussed will deal with underage drinking and overall substance abuse issues, said the senator.

“I have worked with TNCAP for years now and they have done some really interesting education programs, especially involving cigarette smoking and underage drinking,” said Klein, who added that the organization was helpful when he was crafting legislation on scanners that help identify fraudulent IDs at bars.

TNCAP’s community organizer, Rhenecia Perry, has been gathering feedback from students at Lehman High School on the Lehman Campus ahead of the forum.

She said that based on her conversations with a focus group of Lehman students over several 40-minute sessions in the campus’ Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention office, students perceive that at the school – but not necessarily among students in the group — that marijuana is easy to obtain and preferable to alcohol.

“It is easier for the students to get their hands on drugs,” said Perry, adding that the students in the focus group she worked with also perceived that their campus is troubled and that little is expected.

Bliss also said that city Department of Health statistics show a rise in heroin abuse between 2014 and 2015 among adults in the Throggs Neck and Pelham Bay communities.

Heroin abuse, she said, often stems from addiction to prescription painkillers that morphs into heroin addiction.

A number of panelists from city and state agencies and the community are expected, including from NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, said Bliss.

TNCAP is part of the Archdiocese of New York Drug Abuse Prevention Program.

For more information, call TNCAP at (718) 904-1333.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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