Anti-Drug Program Co-Founded By Famed Lawyer Who Lost Son To Substance Abuse Expands To South Coast
He’s just 17, but drugs and alcohol have been a part of Antonio’s life for five years. The Oxnard teen says it took him getting arrested on a criminal charge, and being locked up in a juvenile facility for him to decide he needed to clean up his life. He’s now one of the charter members of a unique new drug and alcohol prevention program being offered by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Oxnard and Port Hueneme.
It’s called Brent’s Club. It’s the latest chapter of a non-profit program created by one of America’s most famous attorneys. Robert Shapiro has practiced for decades, but many people recognize his name as one of the lead attorneys in the OJ Simpson murder trial. He and his wife lost their son Brent, to alcohol and drug abuse in 2005.
They wanted to make something good come from the tragedy. It started as an awareness effort, but about five years ago, they turned it into a more comprehensive program which includes education, incentives, and mandatory random drug testing.
There are 20 Brent Club’s chapters across the country, in places like LA, Oakland, New York and Chicago. Oxnard might be the smallest community participating. But, community members say the need for it is huge. State figures show one in three 11th graders in the county has used marijuana, and one in five used alcohol in the last month.
Erin Antrim is the President and CEO of the Oxnard based Boys and Girls Club chapter. She says they are hoping to get to kids, and teens early enough before they become addicted to substances.
Shapiro thinks his son Brent would be proud of what the program is doing, which is helping to change lives.