– Seeking to raise awareness among the Hazleton area’s Spanish-speaking community regarding the pandemic and related drug and alcohol problems, Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) hosted a virtual panel discussion with local treatment and recovery experts on Thursday evening.
Toohil’s guests included Pastor Franklin Anziani, community advocate; Ryan Hogan, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties Drug and Alcohol Program administrator; and Eileen Panzarella, Pathway to Recovery prevention education director. The event was carried live on Radio Esperanza De Vida 99.1 FM and on the 911.Informativo Facebook page.
“We had a very informative discussion and I was pleased with the number of folks we reached during the nearly three-hour event,” said Toohil. “The information provided was geared toward families, and more specifically adults. It is extremely troubling to note that 95% of the concerns we heard were about teenagers having drug-related issues during the pandemic.”
Hogan explained the treatment and recovery services that are available locally and how his agency assists residents in the two counties with funding to pay for it.
“As the drug and alcohol program administrator, it is my responsibility to ensure the provision of prevention, intervention and treatment services for substance use within Luzerne and Wyoming counties,” Hogan noted. “The placement in treatment services is completely unique to the individual’s needs. The assessor will help determine the best course of treatment and the facility that best fits the needs of the individual seeking treatment.”
Panzarella provided information on the steps parents can take to educate their children about substance abuse.
“As you can see, there is a lot for parents to learn, but parents also need to watch what they do in front of their children,” she told the live audience. “If you are getting drunk, smoking marijuana or taking other drugs, the children will think it is okay for them to use those things as well.”
“We all need to do something about it: from educating ourselves, to working together to create safer neighborhoods, to providing positive ways to help people cope with anxiety and stress. Together we can find the way to prevent, reduce and reverse the problem,” Panzarella concluded.
Toohil gave special thanks to the translator, Enith Rosenstock, for her work during Thursday’s broadcast. She plans to host a similar event for an English-speaking audience in the immediate future.
Representative Tarah Toohil
116th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office