As the Vernon community tries to come to terms with the tragic death of Traci Genereaux, community groups are coming together in Vernon on Thursday to address youth addiction.
The 18-year-old’s body was found on a Salmon River Road farm last month.
Friends and family say the teen struggled with addiction and turned to the sex trade for a period of time before her disappearance.
The Canadian Mental Health Association says 85 per cent of Canadian teenagers have consumed alcohol and 50 per cent have consumed illegal drugs.
The community health organization says most at risk to develop addictions are youth under the age of 25.
CMHA Suicide Awareness Group, Mental Illness Family Support Centre and the North Okanagan Child and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Local Action Team will host a Panel and Community Resource Fair at the Vernon Recreation Centre Auditorium on November 23 from 6 p.m.–9.p.m.
Dr. Michael Ocana will lead a discussion on Youth Addictions: Prevention through Relationships. He is the head of the Adolescent Psychiatric Unit at Kelowna General Hospital.
His talk will be followed by a panel discussion to include Dr. Kevin Miller; Doug Rogers, Vernon School District Substance Abuse Prevention Counsellor and a parent and youth with lived experience.
“Prevention is the key to helping youth in our community. We need to explore what we are doing to help kids make better choices to lead healthier lives. Youth today are faced with unique challenges and it is more important than ever that schools, services providers and family members get actively involved in the lives of their kids,” says Rogers.