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Frank Ferry: ‘Highwire Act’ art exhibit open

Live from City Hall

Posted: December 17, 2011 1:30 a.m.
Updated: December 17, 2011 1:30 a.m.

The city of Santa Clarita is showcasing a new public art exhibit, “Hirewire Act: Insights into Substance Abuse, on Town Center Drive” at the Westfield Valencia Town Center through Jan. 7. The art exhibit explores the impacts of substance abuse through various forms, including photography, painting and mixed media.

“Hirewire Act” features the work of renowned artists Christine McKee, Claire Putney, Barbara Reid and Chris Likins who each bring their own unique and differing artistic styles to the subject matter.

The exhibit, originally created through Kern County’s Creating Community program, and sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, is on loan to the city of Santa Clarita, which is presenting the exhibit as part of the Heroin Kills initiative.

As with many suburban communities around the country, heroin use among young people is on the rise in Santa Clarita.

The city of Santa Clarita has launched a provocative outreach program, Heroin Kills, which seeks to spread awareness of the drug and offers resources for addiction, recovery and counseling.

The “Highwire Act” art exhibit provides a thought-provoking look into substance abuse and helps further the goals of the city of Santa Clarita’s own Heroin Kills outreach program by continuing the dialogue that substance abuse is a very real problem. Far too many families have been torn apart by heroin and other drugs in our community.

The experts tell us that heroin use and addiction generally follows some predictable stages. The user takes their first dose of heroin for several different reasons.

Some might already be addicted to opioids and morphine derivatives, such as Norco, Vicodin, Lortab, Percocet and Oxycontin. They might have been prescribed these controlled substances legally initially followed by uncontrolled addiction.

Some experiment with other gateway drugs, eventually convincing themselves, being convinced by others or simply seeking to fulfill addictive compulsions associated with powerful substances as they progress to heroin.

Unfortunately, we find there are times gateway substances are obtained right from medicine cabinets in the home of a friend or relative. There are others who are curious and try heroin or other illicit drugs because someone else tells them lies such as, “Try it once, you’ll like it and you won’t get addicted,” and “If you just smoke it, heroin isn’t bad for you.”

Heroin is so addictive that an immediate withdrawal is experienced by the user even after trying the drug only one time.

The user experiences severe withdrawal and the need to fill the gap with the same extremely harmful sensation. Without the gap being filled, the heroin user experiences the physical torturous symptoms of withdrawal.

The new exhibit space for “Hirewire Act: Insights into Substance Abuse” is located at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, space 135 on Town Center Drive (between Abercrombie and Fitch and Pottery Barn). The space was generously donated by the Westfield Valencia Town Center for the special exhibit.

For more information or resources, check out our website:

Frank Ferry is a Santa Clarita City Councilmember and can be reached at:


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