The roomful of young students sat silently as Jake McClain spoke about his battle with heroin and methamphetamine.He talked about how his parents relapsed into drug use when he was 11. About the downward spiral into his own addiction. About finally hitting rock bottom, shooting up in the school bathroom.And how he pulled out of it and was inspired to help people.The kids were mesmerized, at least in part because this wasn’t an adult recalling his tortured teenage years. Jake is graduating from high school this summer. His rock bottom period was last year.He was one of many teens wanting to help teens who convened at Clark College on Friday.The Teens Care Too Youth Prevention and Leadership Summit brought nearly 300 middle and high school students to the college campus. Its theme — youth voices, youth choices — neatly summed up what the afternoon was all about — letting the kids do the talking about how to curb drug and alcohol abuse in their ranks.The afternoon followed that to the letter. Even though a host of luminaries — state representatives, mayors, county commissioners and city councilors — attended, most of the speeches and announcements in Gaiser Hall were made by people too young to vote.The big crowd broke up into workshops mid-afternoon, many of which were led by adult experts. But not all.One of them, called “Experience, Hope and Strength,” featured Jake and two of his school mates from Legacy High School in Vancouver.Marika Neis-Steinwand spoke about post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition usually associated with combat veterans. Marika fought fierce-enough battles in her teenage years to be diagnosed with the disorder. Nearly 300 teens gather Friday in Clark College’s Gaiser Hall for the Teens Care Too Youth Prevention and Leadership Summit. The event let students discuss among each other how to curb drug and alcohol abuse.
"Teens do the talking on how to curb substance abuse"