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Camarillo: Drugs, Drinking, and Your Teenager

Written by Evolve's Behavioral Health Content Team​:

Alyson Orcena, LMFT, Melissa Vallas, MD, Shikha Verma, MD, Ellen Bloch, LCSW, Lianne Tendler, LMFT, Megan Johnston, LMFT
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Since January, the Ventura County Sherriff’s Department has made dozens of drug-related arrests and confiscated marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and controlled prescription drugs worth over 8.4 million dollars – all in the Camarillo area. That’s not including the massive operation conducted this summer in nearby Los Padres National Forest in coordination with the California Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies, a sting which included 14 raids on illegal marijuana farms and confiscated over 130,000 marijuana plants with an estimated street value of over $500 million dollars.

If you’re a Camarillo parent concerned about the availability of drugs in your town, your concerns are well-founded: the drugs are here. In press releases published online by the Ventura County Sherriff’s Department, documentation of the arrests, the names of the suspects, and the amounts and types of drugs confiscated are there for you to see: click here to have a look for yourself. The reports range from large busts involving significant quantities of methamphetamine and prescription pills distributed through local businesses to tragic, heartbreaking stories of teen heroin overdose deaths leading to the arrests of dealers responsible for supplying the drugs.

Add to this the valiant efforts of local groups such as Saving Lives Camarillo to raise awareness about teenage drinking and drug use, and it’s clear the abundance of alcohol and drugs in the Camarillo area pose a very real risk to local teenagers. It may be tempting to write off weekend party drinking and smoking a little weed to harmless teenage boundary-pushing and experimentation, but that would be a mistake: neither the marijuana nor the parties are what they used to be.

Advances in genetic engineering and growing techniques yield much more powerful strains of marijuana than were prevalent as recently as the 1990s, and at the scene of one arrest, authorities found equipment used to “extract high levels of THC from marijuana and convert it into concentrated cannabis,” according to the Sherriff’s office. This means teens not only have access to more potent variations of marijuana, but may also be offered the drug in a much stronger, more concentrated form – which carries higher risk of intoxication and abuse – than is common even by today’s elevated standards.

Local teens with Saving Lives Camarillo are organizing “Reality Parties” to educate parents on exactly what goes on at a drinking party circa 2017. In contrast to parties many parents may remember from their youth, contemporary teenagers stage parties to reflect what can actually happen at unsupervised parties these days. Parents may be shocked to learn that competitive drinking games, binge drinking, fights, casual sexual activity, and even sexual assaults are not unusual occurrences. Consequences for this type of behavior can lead to anything from teen pregnancy to sexually transmitted diseases to problems with law enforcement and jail time.

If you think your teenager has gotten off track, started using drugs and/or drinking, and begun attending parties where excessive drug and alcohol use is the norm, rather than the exception, please listen to your instincts. Sit them down for a serious conversation. Tell them you know drugs are readily available in the area – the arrest records prove it – and you’re aware of what happens at parties – their own peers have made it public knowledge.

And if you know your teen has taken a wrong turn and needs help with an alcohol or substance use problem, please give us a call at Evolve Camarillo: we’re here to help you and your family get back on the road to a healthy life.

Evolve Treatment Centers, accredited by CARF and The Joint Commission, offer the highest caliber of care for teens, 12 to 17 years old, struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues. To learn more about our full continuum of Outpatient (OP), Intensive Outpatient (IOP), Partial Hospitalization (PHP), and Residential Treatment Programs (RTC), visit https://www.evolvetreatment.com or call


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