Maricopa High School’s chapter of SADD – Students Against Destructive Decisions – is reaching out to entire families through a new program that can help students and parents alike deal with the effects of drug addiction.
Called the “Families Anonymous” program, the goal is to help parents and teachers recognize drug problems among students while directing them to resources to help those students.
According to Assistant Principal Valerie Whitchurch, FA is a “group of concerned relatives and friends whose lives have been adversely affected by a loved one’s addiction to alcohol or drugs.”
SADD brought in a guest speaker, Sgt. James Rodriguez from the Arizona National Guard’s Drug Demand Program, at the end of November to give background information to parents, teachers and students about the benefits of such a program.
Jasmeet Mago, the faculty advisor for SADD, said the need to kick off such an effort came from feedback she received from parents.
“The catalyst for starting this program was a concerned parent that strongly felt that we needed a Families Anonymous group here in Maricopa,” Mago said. “After seeing students go through drug-related problems and speaking to their concerned parents, who need some support and somewhere to go, as well as being the SADD sponsor at Maricopa High School, I decided to be involved as well.”
This group, while focusing on drug issues, has a broader reach.
“This group is geared towards families and friends that are concerned about problems that are affecting their everyday lives,” Mago said. “The topics can range from minor behavior problems to drug and alcohol related issues.”
For Mago, it was her first attempt at being involved in the formation of such a support group, but she said as the process continues over the next several months, she believes it can have a positive impact on families and teachers alike. Whitchurch said making that impact is what FA is all about.
“Families Anonymous is dedicated to doing something constructive about our approach to someone else’s problem,” she said. “We learn from our own experience, but we can also get a great deal of benefit from the shared misery and foolish mistakes we make while trying to do the best we possibly can do.”