Seminar to inform about drug

By: Casha Caponegro
   Parents of children in fourth grade and above should be aware of the signs and dangers associated with the use of the illegal street drug Ecstasy, experts say.
   To provide parents with this information, the Princeton Alcohol and Drug Alliance, which is associated with the Cranbury Municipal Alliance, will sponsor a seminar, "Ecstasy: A problem in our town? It’s not just a club drug anymore."
   The talk, which will be held in the Princeton High School Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, is also sponsored by Corner House, a counseling center for adolescents and their families in the Princeton area, and the Princeton and Cranbury PTOs.
   "The whole evening is designed to give parents information and promote discussion on Ecstasy and other club drugs," said Sheree Dunnett of the Cranbury Municipal Alliance.
   The evening will feature a talk by Larry DesRochers, medical director of the ER and MICU at the Community Medical Center in Toms River, who will discuss the potentially deadly drug.
   A performance on Ecstasy by the Teen Advisory Group, which consists of 17 high school juniors and seniors from PHS, Princeton Day School, the Hun School of Princeton and the Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart also will be presented to give parents a sense of what local teens have experienced and encountered concerning the drug.
   Parents also will have a chance to participate in small panel discussions moderated by local physicians and substance abuse counselors.
   The moderators will include Marty Weinapple, an adolescent substance abuse specialist at the Princeton House Unit of the Medical Center at Princeton, Glenn Duncan, the clinical director at Corner House, Stephanie Chorney, a pediatrician and PADA board member, and Gary DeBlasio, executive director at Corner House.
   Also attending the seminar will be Princeton law enforcement representatives, who will discuss their experiences with the illegal drug.
   "We need to alert parents that Ecstasy is not just used in rave clubs," said Ms. Dunnett, who pointed out that there has been an increase over the past few years in Ecstasy use in high schools throughout the country.
   Ms. Dunnett said parents need to be aware of Ecstasy and its effects because many youngsters view it as drug that has little to no side effects.
   "Some children think of Ecstasy as being possibly benign and that is not true," said Ms. Dunnett, who pointed out that Ecstasy use nationwide has been found in upper elementary grades, middle school and high school. "There have been numerous Ecstasy-related deaths."