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Tyrone youth meet about drug problem

Concerned youth of Tyrone met last evening at the Tyrone Area Elementary School gymnasium to discuss the issue of drugs and alcohol use among teenagers. The discussion was lead by Rita DeCarlo, the mother of Randy Estright, the teenager killed in a one-vehicle accident on the Janesville Pike in May. The meeting was designed to solicit ideas from Tyrone’s teenagers about the town, their recreational opportunities and ways to thwart drug use.
DeCarlo started by telling the students that underage drinkng was around when she was a teenager, but hard drugs, such as heroin, were not prevalent.
“”I had no idea that there was a heroin problem in Tyrone until Randy died,” she said. Estright was killed in the early morning hours of May 26 when he lost control of his pick-up truck, which according to State Police reports was due to excessive speed. DeCarlo admitted that Estright was drinking and laid some of the blame on herself, and other parents, who have been too permissive with their teenagers.
“We want to give you all the things we didn’t have,” she said, noting more teenagers have access to extra spending money, cars and are often allowed to be out driving after legally prescribed hours. She also told the approximately 15 students attending that ultimately they have to take charge of their own decisions.
“You’ve got to take responsibility for your own lives,” she said. “If things keep going the way they are in this tow we’re going to see another kid lose their life.”
DeCarlo said she wasn’t there to preach to them about the dangers of drugs and she noted the teenagers were already aware of the risks and effects of usage. “You know who’s using, you know who’s partying,” she said.
DeCarlo told the tenagers that efforts were underway to open a place for them to hang out without being asked to move. She said that any efforts to provide for the youth need to be respected and not destroyed.
As the students began to throw ideas around, one theme stood out — the students gathered didn’t see most of the civic and cultural activities in town relating to them.
“Wouldn’t you like to see a rock band at Reservoir Park?” she asked. “Besides a gospel, country or bluegrass band.”
Tyrone Football coach John Franco spoke briefly, as well. He related how students need to realize that “boredom” is something all teenagers, regardless of their generation, have experienced.
“When your 16, 17 and 18, there are not always a lot of things to do,” he said. “Not a lot will change that.”
Franco said that as teenagers enter adulthood they wee that life demands much from them and the “boredom” dissappears, replaced by the rigors of “The Real World”.
He encouraged the group, as did DeCarlo, to take the initiative in changing attitudes among the teenagers in town concerning drug and alcohol abuse.