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Hundreds pack Surrey Drugs and Gangs forum

Stephanie Froese

Surrey has seen 54 shooting and 71 overdoses in 2016

A disconnect between parents and kids is one of the topics being discussed at a Drugs and Gangs forum in Surrey

SURREY (NEWS 1130) — “I should probably listen to my parents, I know it’s going through one ear and out the other.”

Those words come from a grade 11 student speaking with NEWS 1130 after a Drugs and Gangs forum in Surrey, hosted by Kids Play.

There was standing room only at the Taj Park Convention Centre where hundreds of students and families gathered Wednesday to hear presentations on the dangers kids are facing.

Another student says she sees a disconnect between her peers and her parent’s generation.

“Our parents come from India, or they’re immigrants, and they see the troubles that they see in their homeland and I don’t think they want us to experience that. I feel like there is a disconnect because parents think that what they’re saying is right. I know the teenage age, where you want to be rebellious, you want to get out of it, now I realize what my parents are saying is true because I see the news, I see what happens.”

MP Randeep Sarai brought his family to the forum and says parents are understandably concerned.

“Relationships are not as much there as they could be. People are stuck in their iPads and iPhones and smart gadgets. They don’t realize what the kids are actually doing or what they’re into. When they’re out and about they may not realize that drugs are so prevalent.”

Joe Calendino, an ex-full patch member of the Hells Angels, spoke about the difficulties of getting out of a life of drugs and crime.

“Have that open dialogue with your kids. Be able to sit there non-judgemental, and really hear them and allow them to speak to you because we live in a space where we really need to understand our kids.”

He says people who label Surrey as a hub for drugs and violence are misguided.

“This started in Vancouver, went out to North Vancouver, moved over to the Fraser Valley, then over to Surrey, then back to Vancouver, have we got any better at what we’ve been doing?” he says.

“Let’s start saying this is a Greater Vancouver problem, drug addiction has no boundaries.”