Dear Editor:

My name is Heather Smythe. I am 24 years old and I grew up in this lovely valley we all love to call home.

This valley lost a beautiful soul, a man who loved his family and friends. The cause of his death will haunt me forever, as will the other friends I have lost to the deadly, dark thing in this valley that many people dont like to speak about.

My friends cant speak anymore, but I would love to speak for them. Many people of the older generation in this town dont realize the drugs that pass through this valley, or maybe they do and just dont want to speak about it.

The younger generation in this valley knows all too well about the drugs that pass through the valley because many are doing them.

As a community, we need to stand together and speak about the problems that are causing friends and families to lose their children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and friends, too. Growing up, it was the cool thing to do if you wanted to be a part of the crowd. It was something that the popular kids were doing.

I have been fortunate enough not to touch them, but some of my friends have not been so lucky. I have seen drugs ruin friendships, families, and lives. Drugs are not something that should be taken lightly.

As the elementary school kids go to high school and the high school kids become adults, drugs are a part of that life and we as a community need to stop it.

When I was in high school in Invermere, marijuana was the drug of choice, but almost six years later, I am hearing cocaine, marijuana and even heroin are becoming a part of that list.

These drugs ruin peoples adolescence and kids are not kids anymore. Hold your families close, always say I love you, and cherish the memories that you have with friends and family.

Im sorry if you may see this as a rant, but it is something that needs to be said for those people who cant speak anymore.

As someone who calls Invermere their home and who is 24 years old, I have lost more people on my right hand who were close to me because of drugs. I hope that as a community we can all be the voices for these young lives. To the families who have been through a tragedy, I am sorry. I am writing this as a friend. Rest in Paradise.

Heather Smyth