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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release [printer friendly page]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 1, 2006

Registration for Candlelight Vigil ends May 15th

(Washington, D.C): Monday, May 15th is the last day for the public to register to be a part of a candlelight vigil at DEA Headquarters in Arlington, Virginia on the evening of June 8, 2006.

The vigil is being held to remember those who have lost their lives to drugs, and is being supported by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the Partnership for a Drug Free America, National Families in Action and the Drug-Free Kids organization.

“ Every 20 minutes, drugs take another life in this country. Every 20 minutes, the dreams, promise, and talent of another American is snuffed out—leaving families and friends to suffer the darkness of grief,” said DEA Administrator Karen Tandy. "In honor of those lost and in support of those left behind, DEA illuminates the harsh reality of drugs and their tragic consequences. This vigil gives hope for an America without drugs.”

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will include remarks from Dr. Lonise Bias, parents and siblings, Administrator Tandy, NIDA Director Nora Volkow and Deputy Drug Czar Mary Ann Solberg. A candlelight vigil will follow, during which the photographs of those who lost their lives to drugs will be displayed.

“ Every life, especially a young life, extinguished or derailed by substance abuse, is a tragic loss of promise and potential that we as individuals, community members, and a society cannot afford,” said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health. “We must therefore strengthen efforts to educate our families and communities about the lessons we’ve learned from drug abuse prevention and treatment research—including the special dangers faced by adolescents. The Vigil for Lost Promise will help call attention to this need and stem the tide of suffering and loss that substance abuse extends to us all.”

The eight families touched by the loss of a child or sibling to drugs came together to plan the vigil with the goal of putting a human face on the tragedy caused by drug abuse. In “An Open Letter to Families Everywhere” the families write “We belong to a club that none of us ever wanted to join. We are the parents and siblings of young people who died too soon because of drugs. Their promise was extinguished long before it could be shared with the world. We are ordinary people who are your neighbors, your co-workers and members of your house of worship. We love our children and tried to be the best parents we could be. But drugs took them from us. Some days the grief is still unbearable.”

DEA’s webpage, www.dea.gov, feature excerpts from interview with parents weekly continuing today with Francine Haight, who lost her son Ryan to a prescription drug overdose in 2001. Additional information on the vigil, and the entire text of “An Open Letter to Families Everywhere” can be found at www.nationalparentvigil.com

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