Pocahontas Prevention Coalition Wants Your Help In Stopping Drug And Alcohol Abuse
Marlinton, WV – The Pocahontas County Prevention Coalition says it take a community to raise healthy drug free kids. At a town hall meeting held last week at PCHS, local law enforcement, educators, businesses and the public gathered to discuss the rising drug problem in the county and what to do about it.
Pocahontas County Sheriff David Jonese says the statistics are alarming. He says Pocahontas is one of top counties in the state for illegal prescription drug abuse. It’s also in the top five nationally based on per capita population. And it’s an issue that dominates the time of his deputies.
He says in the last year, his dept has spent at least 17 thousand man hours dealing with this problem and see on average 3 overdoses per week. Jonese says the demand for prescription drugs is so good in the county that it’s attracted crime organizations from Florida, Kentucky, Virginia and Ohio.
Fortunately, there are many who aren’t willing to let drug abuse become the norm for Pocahontas. For instance, educators like Green Bank Middle School Principal Ruth Bland. She says one key to helping kids tempted to abuse drugs or alcohol is good counseling. Another is offering good alternative activities. On a recent evening, she says they had kids involved in a variety of activities from after school tutoring to crafts to robotics and sports activities.
Circuit Judge Joseph Pomponio oversees a Drug court in Greenbrier County, and hopes to bring a similar program to Pocahontas. Thomas Peterson, a recent addition to the Prevention Coalition staff, says he plans to bring a Teen Court to the county.
Snowshoe Mountain COO Bill Rock spoke about drug abuse prevention from an employers perspective. He says Snowshoe employs around 400 people year around, a number that swells to 1400 in the winter. The company adopted employee drug testing five years ago. Rock says they were concerned about losing employees at first, but over time the program has become very positive. He says parents are no longer worried about their teens being exposed to drugs while working at the resort.
You can find out more about preventing drug and alcohol abuse and other programs by visiting the Prevention coalitions website at www.pocahontasprevention.org.