Parents and concerned Westbrook residents are joining forces to discuss underage drinking and drug abuse among the city’s teens.

A meeting this Thursday is the latest in a series of efforts by the schools, police and an underage-drinking prevention group set up last spring to curb youth drinking in the city.

This time around, the effort will include the participation of the Wescott Junior High School PTO, which will join the Underage Drinking Work Group at the Wescott Junior High School cafeteria at 6:30 p.m. Concerned residents are encouraged to attend the meeting and to provide their input into drug and alcohol use among Westbrook’s youth.

“The drug issues are community issues, and the schools are trying to do their part to bring it to the parents’ attention,” said Bruce Dyer, Westbrook High School substance abuse counselor. “We want to brainstorm with the community to help kids be safe and help kids make good decisions.”

At Thursday’s meeting, Westbrook guidance counselors will present data from the state on drug and alcohol use among teens, as well as trends in drug use among Westbrook teens. The meeting will include information on how to monitor MySpace accounts and what signs of drug use parents should look for in their children.

“There will also be a discussion about strengthened policies and protocols around student drug use and prevention,” said Sandy Hale, Westbrook school health coordinator. “I think our work group will hear a good summary and may have some good input and questions to ask.”

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