Friends and family members of a recently deceased, drug-addicted teen who attended Huntington Beach High School urged the City Council on Monday to work with schools in combating drug use among youths.
"You guys have to do something about it," said an emotional Savannah Clark. "I know that education in the schools can make a difference. They need to know what they're putting in their bodies."
Clark is the cousin of Tyler Macleod, an 18-year-old who was using heroin around the time of his Sept. 24 death. His parents believed he overdosed, but police are still investigating, and the autopsy hasn't been completed.
Police Chief Ken Small said his staff is compiling citywide and countywide statistics on drug use and is planning a meeting with school officials to address parents' concerns, but he did not give details.
Councilman Joe Carchio is meeting Friday with Councilman Devin Dwyer and City Manager Fred Wilson to discuss drug-related issues.
"We'd like to find an answer to this problem," Carchio said. "You're going to have to educate these kids from when they're little."
Macleod was pronounced dead at the scene when Fountain Valley police and fire responded to someone in distress at the Courtyard Marriott, 9950 Slater Ave., at 10:07 a.m. Sept. 24, said Sgt. Kurt Ulrich.
Police did not say whether drugs were found in Mcleod's room or speculate on the cause of death.
The victim's father, Dave Macleod, said he believes heroin was the cause, adding that he has reason to believe his son obtained the narcotic at school.
When Dave and his wife, Nancy, found out their son was self-medicating with pot and prescription drugs to treat attention deficit disorder and depression, they put him in rehabilitation programs, signed him up for one-on-one counseling and at one time had an around-the-clock therapist staying in their home. None of the therapies, which depleted their savings, worked for very long.
"Your children are supposed to be burying you, not you burying them," Dave Macleod said.
Tyler Macleod was described as a typical Southern California teen who enjoyed surfing and sports.
At one point, he attended Mater Dei High School, where he played lacrosse and football. He struggled academically because of his diagnoses and transferred to Huntington.
Kelly Cason, a friend of the family whose kids grew up with the Macleods' children, urged the city to address the root of the community's drug problems.
"This city belongs to me, my children and my neighbors and the kids at school and the people in Huntington Beach that want it to be a great place to live," she said. "Everybody should be invested in this."
Mayor Don Hansen said the city is committed to addressing residents' concerns.
"It's incumbent upon us to take this tragedy and turn it into a potential opportunity," he said.