Fresno Held a Drug Free Summit

December 22, 2008 2:14:35 PM PST
Fresno Mayor Alan Autry partnered with local law enforcement leaders to take what he calls the first step toward creating a drug free community.Mayor Alan Autry says drug use both illegal and prescription is rampant in Fresno. It is especially a problem among adolescents. Autry and Police Chief Dyer said together they are on a mission to eliminate drugs in Fresno.

Lexi Barserian started using drugs at just 14 years old, a drink and a cigarette at a party soon became much more.

Lexi Barserian: "Very quickly I moved to smoking marijuana, marijuana led to cocaine, cocaine led to ecstasy, ecstasy led to my primary drug of choice, meth."

Before long the once straight a student, who was on the student council and involved in sports started hanging around with a rough crowd and dwindled away to 80 pounds. She says even on campus getting drugs was very easy.

Lexi Barserian: "It wasn't ever a problem, I could have it in five to ten minutes just by a single call. There was children on campus as well that had backpacks, books, binders, full of drugs."

Mayor Alan Autry and Police Chief Jerry Dyer held the first drug free summit Thursday to ask for help from educators, law enforcement, churches and drug rehabilitation experts to address a growing problem in our community.

Alan Autry, Fresno Mayor: "Some of them you buy from the illegal dealer on the street corner, others you go into the doctor's office and get a prescription for, that's the cold hard facts."

Lexi used drugs hard core for two years, even while on school grounds, she remembers one time vividly.

Lexi Barserian: "At Buchanan, during DARE week there was a group of several kids, myself included that as the speaker was talking to us, we were turned around in the bleachers doing meth and coke."

Her wakeup call came from Clovis Police when she was stopped after curfew, irrational and under the influence. That was the turning point.

Lexi Barserian: "I realized that I was never going to be clean until I was able to look in the mirror and say I love myself and I'm doing this for me and the big man up there."

The striking confident young woman is sharing her story with others, hoping to help other teens and adults with drug problems get help get clean and stay clean.

Mayor Autry's goal is to eventually open up a rehab center similar to the well known Betty Ford Clinics for teens in Fresno. Although he only has 10 months left in office he says he will start now and continue the mission after he leaves office.


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