HANNIBAL, OHIO – Teen substance abuse continues to be a concern familiar to parents, educators, and community members. As a part of an initiative to support prevention efforts through community education, WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital recently partnered with Monroe County’s HOPE Alliance to host the Say KNOW to Drugs Community Education Event from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, at River High School in Hannibal. The event is free and open to the public.
“As an outcome of HRSA’s Rural Communities Opioid Response Planning grant, we have had the opportunity to sponsor four community education events, focusing building our region’s capacity to address not just on the problem of opiates, but also to combat all substance use issues,” David Phillips, president and CEO at WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital, said. “One way to support this effort is to educate the adults in teenagers’ lives about substance abuse, so they can provide well-informed guidance to the younger generation.”
A team of peer supporters, counselors, and other staff from Serenity Hills Life Center in Wheeling will open the event with a presentation and Q&A session exploring how addiction develops and how recovery is possible. Serenity Hills Life Center began offering crisis response and peer support services, along with treatment available to women in various stages of recovery in June. This is the largest program of its kind in West Virginia with 72 beds, a separate 10-bed house for pregnant women, and a halfway house for those transitioning out of recovery.
The BE AWARE Coalition from Guernsey County will be presenting from 7-9 p.m. Members of this team include individuals from the Guernsey County Sheriff’s Department, Alcohol and Drug Services of Guernsey County, Guernsey County Juvenile Court, Guernsey County Health Department, Guernsey-Noble Safety Council, and Ohio Valley Educational Service Center.
The BE AWARE hour-long program will be an interactive experience with the opportunity to walk through a 24-foot trailer that has been refurbished and converted into a mobile educational tool targeting adults who are 18 years of age or older to inform them of the “not-so-easily” identifiable signs of drug use and abuse. Community members will learn the indicators of high-risk behaviors, such as substance abuse, underage drinking, prescription and over-the-counter drug misuse, as well as the signs that could indicate the manufacture of illegal drugs.
The Monroe County’s HOPE Alliance, a Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition, is leading this community education initiative. Established in January 2018 by concerned community members, the Alliance coordinated efforts with River High School to host Thursday’s event.
“Addiction is not just a problem for the person addicted; it affects the family and community as a whole,” Lisa Carpenter, president of the HOPE Alliance and intervention case manager with Switzerland of Ohio Local School District, said. “Saying KNOW to Drugs – meaning, being educated and aware of the dangers of drug use and current substance use trends, will empower our parents, educators, and other community members to guide teens in their lives towards a drug-free future. Knowledge is power and its time that we arm ourselves.”
For more information on this event or to join the Monroe County’s HOPE Alliance, contact 740-472-1677. For more information on substance use treatment, call Addiction Services of Eastern Ohio at 740-425-5780.
Leila Miller, Director of Community Relations, 740-425-5112, firstname.lastname@example.org