Students learn about substance abuse at Red Ribbon Week assembly

Valeria Luquin


Students walked away filled with knowledge and tips after attending an assembly for Red Ribbon Week.

“Our vision is to create a world where all members are equal and thriving members of society,” Center Associate Director of Education and Youth Development Kevin McCloskey said. 

The Los Angeles LGBT Center gave a presentation in the MPR talking about the LGBTQ community and substance abuse for Red Ribbon Week on Oct. 30. 

The Los Angeles LGBT Center was founded in 1969. This year, they are celebrating 50 years of providing help in various ways for the LGBTQ community. They provide health services, community building opportunities, housing services, HIV and STD testing services and a place for people to come and be together. 

McCloskey explained how the rates of depression and suicide are higher among the LGBTQ community. He addressed that the way you act, what you say and how you treat someone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning does have an effect on the person. 

The three other speakers, Chris Aguilar, Erick Fletes and Fallon Lengson then talked about addiction and substance abuse.

“Drugs are a sign that there is a problem,” Aguilar said. 

Students participated by reading the slides projected and answering questions. Some of the signs the speakers pointed out are missing classes, building a lifestyle off of getting drunk or high, stress, anxiety, depression, guilt and shame. One of the biggest signs they pointed out was the person giving up on the things that once made them happy. 

The advice they gave to help those struggling was to talk to a doctor, teacher or a trusted family member. A national suicide prevention lifeline was also provided: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 

“I guess a lot of people aren’t very educated about the LGBTQ+ community, so I think that it’s important for them to learn more about it and also drug abuse,” freshman Ashley Harrison said.