Santa Clarita is facing ‘its not-so-awesome’ reality spearheading its focus on heroin use, but addressing concerns for all drugs, alcohol, and tobacco abuse. The City’s campaign “Heroin Kills” launched in October, facilitated over seven hundred residents to initiate and mobilize a community-wide strategy.
“I’m at an Action Family residential,” said 18-year old Robbie Kraskian, a recovering heroin addict and speaker at the event. “I was sick and tired of being sick and tired so I told my parents I was using again. I’m doing real good and now I’m here to help save the city,” he shared.
So began the community fight which continues to plague Santa Clarita. On Monday, one more funeral was held due to heroin overdose, which has claimed at least ten Santa Clarita residents since 2010, according to officials. 453 heroin addicts were admitted to Action Family Rehab Centers between January and October of last year, according to directors.
Media campaigns and monthly meetings are ongoing at the City’s Blue Ribbon Task Force, as well as intervention from such organizations as Action Family Counseling and Light of Hope.
The City is requesting teens and young adults to participate in upcoming meetings.
“The issue with heroin is a huge problem,” said Santa Clarita mayor, Laurie Ender, also a participant in the meeting.
“The reaction from so many people is ‘I didn’t know we had this problem,’” she continued. “And we all need to be aware of it and we all need to address it.”
City officials are eager to hear from young adults. Blue Ribbon Task Force facilitator, Janine Prado, says now that school is back in session, she hopes young people will make their voice heard at upcoming meetings.
“We’re going to come back and really insure that we have young people at the table. We’ve always had them in the past but it’s really hard with school and things. That was one of the key things I got from the table, making sure their voices are heard,” Prado said.
“Never pick up that first time. Yeah, that first time will kill you,” insisted Robbie.
To attend the Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting on February 28th, RSVP is required. Contact Janine Prado at the City of Santa Clarita, 661.259.CITY.