On the evening of December 2nd, Mount Greylock administered a panel on drug safety by a team of professionals for community members: NBCC Director of Drug Prevention Programs Wendy Penner, Dr. Jennifer Michaels Medical Director of The Brien Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, retired Pediatrician Dr. Thomas Hyde, Lanesborough Chief of police Officer Sorrell, Williamstown police officer Shaun William, Vice Principal Jacob Schutz, and District Attorney David Capeless. A myriad of parents and students across the county attended the event that took place in the meeting room. Wendy Penner began the panel by discussing the dangers of drinking at an early age. Next Dr. Michaels gave a comprehensive Powerpoint presentation on several topics including the dangers of binge drinking, the possible adverse effects of heavy marijuana use showing slides between a smoker and non smoker, and the addictive, and detrimental abuse of opiates. Dr. Hyde proceeded and expanded on the problems with opiates, discussing how easy it is to become addicted, and the importance of properly disposing unused prescription medicine. Officer’s Sorrell, and William segwayed to anecdotes about the downward spiral opiates can lead to, and how that use can lead to heroin, and eventually overdosing. Mr. Schutz reaffirmed speculations around drug use within the school, and quelled concerns about abuse of substances on campus. Finally District Attorney David Capeless laid out not only physical but legal consequences of substance possession.
The panel then opened the floor for questions and concerns. Parents from multiple counties described personal problems they had experienced with their children and substance abuse. One mother asked about marijuana legalization and possible concerns moving forward as a recreational state. The atmosphere in the room took a turn for the tense as parents came to the mic as a platform to promote their various anti-drug blogs, demand parents vote against legalization, and questioned the school’s commitment to safety. The panel reigned in the questions, restating the dangers of underaged use of any alcohol, marijuana, and opiates. When asked after the end of discussion, Mrs. Macdonald said that this was a very helpful discussion for parents and the school, and mentioned possible plans for bringing various speakers to the school for talks in a forum such as Greylock Talks.