How well do you know your neighbor?

"We should never underestimate the power of prayer and its effect upon others."

My community has been in the news many times over the last few years. Just recently it once again made the headlines because another teenager died from an overdose of heroin. What has taken many by surprise is that my community is a lovely suburb and an, apparently, unlikely candidate for teen drug abuse. Yet several teens have died from drug use, and several children have committed suicide.

For those of us living here, it has been heartbreaking. Such deaths leave students confused about who their friends really are and who they are. They frighten parents who feel vulnerable and wonder if they really know their child. Good parents who are caring have even wondered if their daughter or son will be next.

To its credit, our town has established a series of drug-awareness campaigns and has opened up services for teens, including a youth hotline. Ultimately, however, the solution can be found in more family awareness and involvement. Rick Neudorff, the deputy mayor pro tem, said, "It really is a war, but the bottom line is that it starts with the family, the church, and the community. You have to stay attuned with what children are doing. If each family did that, then the law-enforcement job would be a lot easier" ("When heroin touches an entire town," The Christian Science Monitor, October 5, 1999).

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My neighbour
March 13, 2000

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