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September 8, 2000

First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan, CPS CEO Paul Vallas Hold Forum on Adolescent Substance Abuse Recovery

CHICAGO -- First Lady of Illinois Lura Lynn Ryan and Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas hosted a community forum today which provided youth and their family members the opportunity to speak directly to community leaders about their experiences in substance abuse treatment and recovery. The forum was held in recognition of National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.

Recovery Month celebrates the strides taken by individuals who have undergone successful treatment and recognizes those in the field who dedicate their lives to helping young people in need. This year's theme, Recovering Our Future: One Youth at a Time, is part of a national effort to address the growing problem of addiction among adolescents by focusing on the importance of treatment and recovery. Illinois youth who have been through the treatment process shared their personal stories of recovery with Mrs. Ryan and Vallas as well as a panel of city, state and federal officials, educators, law enforcement officials, and members of the medical community.

"This summer at the Governor's Teen Summit, we learned that honest discussions with teens and their families are the best way to address the issues that they struggle with today," said Mrs. Ryan. "I'm expecting to get some great insights at how we can tackle the problem of addiction."

"Forums such as these are critical because they create a genuine platform for discussing the issue of substance abuse among teens," said Paul Vallas, CPS chief executive officer. "Decision makers can dialogue all day about what we think, but we won't find the true answers to this dilemma until more of us are willing to do what we're doing today -- listening to the students and families most affected by this problem."

Following the personal testimonies of the youth, panelists participated in a moderated discussion of the rising problem of addiction among youth and the need to support youth and their families during and after treatment.

During the month of September, community forums throughout the country are celebrating the efforts of treatment providers and those who have recovered from their addiction. Recovery Month is sponsored nationally by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment in collaboration with the American Bar Association and local organizations and community groups.


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