Last Thursday in Malone 112, a very heart-wrenching yet incredibly inspiring conversation was held: A panel on substance abuse awareness, prevention and demand for change. Alyssa Reece put on the event working as a California Campus Compact Community Engagement Student Fellow (CACC-CESF) with Lezlee Matthews (the CBL Social Justice Discourse Director of CSA), in collaboration with the national organization Not One More with President Pat Montoya and Vice President Robert Clark. This event helped students better understand substance abuse and addiction by allowing women to speak about either their personal losses from substance abuse or the actual battle they have faced personally with it.
Taylor Clark, a sophomore psychology and sociology double major and international relations minor, gave the honest truth about how close drug-related problems are by stating, “This is a real problem. There are people here who struggle.” Statistically speaking, there are people at LMU with this problem, yet the conversation can seem somewhat non-existent on campus. This is something in need of change, so fellow students struggling with substance abuse do not feel isolated or that there is no way to get help.
Alyssa Reece, a sophomore graphic design major, gave insight on what she took from experiencing this panel, stating, “Intersections of poverty and substance abuse are dynamic and powerful this situation. This cause does not have a face or a certain person it can effect; it can happen to anyone.” The emphasis that drug abuse can happen to anyone is something critical to note. It does not matter what community or neighborhood you come from - substance abuse can affect any person.
Evan Schaid, a freshman child development major at Long Beach City College, exclaimed that what he took from this event was to “be more aware of my friends and their surroundings” and “keep the awareness more prominent.” Panelist Darian O’Brien, a mother who lost her son from substance abuse, told the audience that she wished she paid attention to more signs and took action. As students at a university, the best form of action we can all take is just being aware.
Overall, this panel was a wonderful way to open up the conversation regarding substance abuse more honestly.
This is the opinion of Cambria Bilinski, freshman women and gender studies major from La Crescenta, CA. Tweet comments to @LALoyolan, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.