‘Real Talk’ about drugs, alcohol set

    “Real Talk,” a panel discussion on drugs and youth in the Permian Basin is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 24 in the Odessa High School Performing Arts Center, 1301 N. Dotsy Ave.Another edition is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Midland High School auditorium, 906 W. Illinois Ave. Deadline to register is Jan. 20 and the event is free.Panelists will be people in recovery who will share their substance use and recovery stories. Effective ways of communicating with teenagers, impactful intervention strategies and realistic expectations of what treatment and recovery look like will be covered.Research on substance use and mental health also will be provided by local researchers and agencies will be on hand to talk and provide resources.A question-and-answer session will follow.Kayla Fishbeck, program director for the Prevention Resource Center at the Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, said five people will be on each panel in Odessa and Midland. They are from West Texas and have been treated locally.They range in age from their 20s to their 30s, Fishbeck said.“They were on everything. At least half the panelists said they had used everything — heroin, cocaine, meth, different kinds of pills. The panel covers a spectrum. Some of them can name a few that they only used a few. In general at some point, they had been exposed to or used pretty much every kind of drug,” Fishbeck said.The goal is to educate parents, teachers and those who work with youth how prevalent drugs are for youngsters.“But they also aren’t up to date on what kinds of drugs and the different kinds of ways that substances can be used and abused,” Fishbeck said.She added that the drugs available now have largely changed from when parents were in school.“It’s changing all the time now, even, so our goal is to inform the adults in our society and our community about drug use and substance use in our kids, but also to provide impactful ways that they can intervene …,” Fishbeck said.Some parents may say, “Just get over it.”