Newspaper Archive of
Lassen County Times
Susanville, California
October 30, 2007     Lassen County Times
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October 30, 2007

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Lassen County Times, Westwood PinePress : 2B Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007 Ruth Ellis Staff writer rellis@lassennews.com The Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education Taskforce first candlelight vigil was a time to remember those who have died from drug-or alcohol-related events, but also to bring awareness about the devasta- tion drugs and alcohol use can bring. At 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23, community members gathered at Memorial Park in Susanville to participate in the nationwide event. During the evening, those at the vigil heard from the mothers of Stephen Draxler and Alan Hoffman, and Hoffman's brother, Zach, also spoke. Hoffman and Draxler, both of Susanville, died on Sept. 23, 2006, from a methadone overdose. Dee Draxler said her son brought so much joy. Dee also shared how she, Dave Wilson, who Stephen viewed as a dad, were once functioning drug addicts, both eventually served time in jail and prison. However, with her son's patience and support, Dee said she went on to college graduating with top honors. When she heard she her son died of a methadone over- dose, Draxler said she walked around in a fog of disbelief. "Of all things, I never dreamed my son would die of a drug overdose. I had talked to him about drugs, he even knew firsthand what drugs could do to a person and how drugs broke up .our family. However, I never thought to talk to him about prescription pills," Dee said. She encouraged everyone in attendance to live a drug- free life. "If not, your only other option is jail, prison or death," she said. "I know, I went to jail, I went prison and my. son paid the ultimate price." Dee said it only takes one time to make the wrong choice. "Don't let it be you or one of your friends. Reach out and help one another by getting help or talking to someone. It can save your life." She said her son did not die in vain and after his death, a friend who was addicted to methadone got help and is clean and sober today. When Alan died, Brenda Hoffman said at first, she was surprised to learn his death could've been caused by methadone. Brenda said she had always talked to her sons about drug use because of her own broth- er's drug related death. Like Dee, Brenda said she never thought to talk to her boys about prescription drugs until Alan died. To those in attendance, Brenda said to think about the prescription drugs in their homes and how conve- nient it would be for someone to take them. And if it wasn't . a drug someone takes often, how long would it be, if ever, before the drugs were discov- ered missing. After Alan died, Brenda said she would think about the p~Tescription drugs in her home, too. She asked those in atten- dance if they receive a pre- scription from a doctor, to ask if the drugs should be locked up somewhere. Brenda said she didn't want another family to go through what her family did. She encouraged people who know someone who is using drugs, even for the first time, to get them help. "'If you think someone is overdosing call 911," she said. When she ended her speech, Brenda said, "Think twice, you only die once." Zach shared how Alan was a role model to him, saying Alan was funny, nice and an all-around good guy. He said, "Just do Alan a favor, don't do drugs; don't let your friends or family mem- bers do drugs. Drugs killed my older brother, don't let them kill you or someone that you love." Dr: B.J. Goodridge, a local pharmacist, said he dispenses prescription drugs such as oxycontin, methadone and percoset. He reiterated what Brenda said and encouraged everyone to lock up their pre- scription drugs. The event also featured keynote speaker Dr. Eric Trevizu, a psychologist who talked about grief. Lassen High School stu- dents provided special music, with Barrett Shepherd play- ing guitar, Kacie Toon sang Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" and Stephanie Gifford sang Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You" as people lighted candles and Cerena Brewen sang "Calling All Angels." The evening ended with a moment of silence. A memory board at the event included pictures of those who died from drug or alcohol related incidents. Those represented from Lassen County included Draxler, Hoffman, Robbie Schlauch, who died in Chico last October, and Kelli Tassi- Berry who was killed by a driver under the influence of drugs. Tassi-Berry and her newly- wed husband were taking a walk when the driver ran his car into them killing Tassi- Berry and injuring her hus- band. National, local statistics Goodridge, provided both local and national statistics about drug use and said there is a problem in Lassen County like the rest of ~the country. In 2006, 86 local fifth- graders were surveyed and 40 Candle in hand, Dee Draxler, mother of Stephen Draxler, looks at the photos on the Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education's memorial board, which displayed photos of people who have died from drug or alcohol related deaths. Draxler spoke about her son and cautioned peo- ple to stay away from drugs at the first NOPE candlelight vigil held on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in Memorial Park. Photo by Ruth Ellis percent said they had used alcohol, 9 percent said they had used alcohol one to two times in the past six months. Nine percent believed there was a 50-50 chance they would use marijuana the following school year. Five percent believed alco- hol use is not bad and 3 per- cent believed marijuana use is not bad. For prescription pain killers, 10 percent of seventh- graders who were surveyed admitted to using them one time. Twenty-one percent of the freshmen surveyed admitted to Using four times or more, while 13 percent of the juniors admitted using pre- scription drugs two to three times and 15 percent admitted using four or more times. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported 9.8 percent of- teenagers ages 12-17 were current illicit drug users and more than 2.6 mil- lion-Americans ages 12 and older reported first time use of prescription drugs for non- medical purposes. Assemblyman Keene among featured speakers at dinner Ron Nehring, chairman of the California Republican Party and Assemblyman Rick Keene are the featured speak- ers at a Republican Central Committee dinner Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Beckwith Tavern in Beckwourth. With the election just around the corner, Plumas chairperson Leah West said this is a great opportunity to be informed by learning the issues and getting the facts so voters can make informed decisions. The reception begins at 5 p.m. followed by dinner at 6 p.m. Meal includes your choice of prime rib, top sir- loin steak, chicken Marsala or pasta primavera, with soup, salad and dessert. Reservations are required for the dinner, which is a joint venture of the Lassen, Plumas, Sierra and Modoc county central committees. RSVP by Sunday, Nov. 4 to Leah West in Graeagle, 836- 1234 or Tim Holabird in Susanville, 827-3018. li Turn a speoia photo into the perfect gift! Now you can buy the photos you see in the Lassen County Times and Westwood PinePress, PLUS all the photos taken at the event that weren't published in the paper. You can buy prints in many different sizes or even have them printed on notecards, coffee mugs, coasters, tote bags, key tags, buttons and more! Go to LassenPhotos.com now to preview and order your favorite photos on Our secure website. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, personal checks and money orders. Submitted photos not available. :?: .o. ::L : ::'7 Z. : ~S-S ,~. S:,:: !:~i i Congressman John T. Doolittle continued his efforts to compensate local counties for the large amounts of fed- erally owned land within their borders. On Oct. 18, Doolittle invited Jim Nussle, the Office of Management and Budget Director to his office to dis- cuss the importance of reau- thorizing the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self- Determination Act. This law, originally enacted in 2000, provides federal pay- ments for counties to be used for schools and roads as a result of the negative impact federal lands have on coun- ties' abilities to raise revenue. AlSo Doolittle co-sponsored H.R. 3508, the most recent pro- posal that would extend these payments through 2011. DooUttle, who was joined by several colleagues from west- ern states, requested the Bush Administration consider the importance of these pay- ments and work with Congress to reauthorize the legislation which expired in 2006. While payments are still being made under a short- term extension, local coun- ties desperately need the security that would come with the four-year extension Doolittle has supported. Closed 10-22 to 10-31 SitSpot is closed while Jackie attends the association of Pet Dog Trainers Conference 10-22 to 10-31 We will reopen Thursday, Nov. 1 SitSpot Canine Center Training, Boarding & Day Care. 472-380 Johnstonville Rd. (530) 257-3161 "I greatly appreciate John organizing this meeting," said Representative Wally Herger "The Secure Rural Schools program is incredi- bly important to all of Northern California. Legislation to extend the pro- gram for another four years iS moving forward in the House, but until a bill becomes law, we must continue to take every opportunity .to find relief [or our rural and forest- ed counties. Thursday's meeting with the President's chief budget advisor provided us with a perfect opportunity to do that." "This is a matter of equi- ty," Doolittle said. "Our coun- ties were promised that they would be compensated when the federal government took their land to create the National Forest System. As a result of the decline in the timber industry and Congress' failure to reautho- rize the Secure Rural Schools and Community Serf- Determination Act, these counties lack the revenue to provide essential public ser- vices to their citizens." H.R. 3058 has been approved by the House Committee on Natural Resources and awaits consid- eration by the full House. It Shouldn't To Go Home Information and assistance is available 24 hours, Out-of-Area 888-289-5004.