Costa Mesa High School graduate Kory Bennion addressed about 100 parents and students at his former campus this week during the culmination of the campus' anti-drug event.
"There were people that were really close to me that were addicted to alcohol and drugs," he said about his time in high school. "And these were my parents."
Bennion was one of two closing speakers Wednesday afternoon.
The previous day students watched a documentary about drug overdoses, and earlier Wednesday, parents were invited to a resource fair featuring law enforcement, treatment centers and other tools like home drug tests.
"As early as I can remember, there was a lot of negativity in the household," Bennion said. "The household was always filled with drugs and alcohol, and there was always fighting."
Through mentors at Mesa and The Crossing Church, Bennion said he was able to free himself from any influence of drugs.
"The difference between my life then and my life now is astronomical," he said, noting that his mother has now been clean and sober for 10 years.
When keynote speaker Ken Seeley — host of the A&E TV show "Intervention" — took the stage, he advocated parents drug test their kids even without any warning signs of drug use.
"I believe every single person that's in junior high and high school should do random drug testing," he said.
Seeley said it gives kids a way to dodge peer pressure by saying they can't partake without parents finding out.
The host then detailed his own descent into a crystal meth addiction and advised parents to watch for warning signs in their children such as withdrawal and slipping grades.
With the help of The Crossing Church Pastor Randy Moraitis, Mesa organized the event to be much like one Mesa Principal Phil D'Agostino hosted at Estancia High School five years ago, D'Agostino said.
"There's just so much stuff out there right now," D'Agostino said. "As a school community, we need to do more than just teach kids the three Rs. We really need to be a community resource."