'Help the Hills' town hall meeting to address drug abuse among t - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

'Help the Hills' town hall meeting to address drug abuse among teens

Community members packed the town hall-style meeting. Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC Community members packed the town hall-style meeting. Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC
VESTAVIA HILLS, AL (WBRC) -

On Monday night parents can get more information about what some are calling a growing problem in Over the Mountain communities: the use of drugs and alcohol.

"Help the Hills" will be a series of town hall meetings focused on that and it kicks off at 6 p.m. in Tyson Hall at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church.

Suzanne and Rick Norris will share their story at Monday night's event. They lost their son, Rick Norris III, better known as Tripp, to a heroin and alcohol overdose in February 2011.

The Norris family says Tripp was an excellent student and they had no idea he was using drugs.

"Those are the things as a parent you look for are they doing well in school and Tripp was however he was dabbling in some drugs and unfortunately it was to his demise," Suzanne Norris said.

"Tripp struggled in silence so long. I think until we create an awareness in the community, kids are going to continue to struggle in silence," said Rick Norris, Tripp's father.

Brad Blount, a former Vestavia Hills High School football player also shared his story of addiction.

"My parents really had no idea this was going on with me," said Blount.

After he was injured and couldn't play sports anymore, Bradi said he became depressed which led to him abusing his pain meds.

"I took 5 milligram Loritab," said Blount. "The best way to describe it was like a light bulb switched on in my head. This was it, this is the answer to my problems. I was no longer depressed, no longer unhappy."

He was one of several speakers at the town hall meeting that shed light on drug abuse among teens.

Shanta Owens has seen the young faces of addiction. She works with the Jefferson County Drug Court program.

"We are seeing a rise in the number of overdoses, specifically opiate addiction," said Owens. "Heroin drug use has gone up dramatically."

For updates as new meetings are set, please visit http://www.leadershipvestaviahills.com/index.php/help-the-hills-parent-strong-and-parent-together/.

Sherea Harris attended the meeting and will have more on the community's feedback at 10. You can watch on air, online at FoxAlabamaLive.com or through the WBRC News app.

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