“I’m pretty confident that the citizens of Scioto County will respond and realize that what we spend on this is investment and savings for later,” said Hughes, director of The Counseling Center Inc. in Portsmouth. “Prescription drug use is the fastest-growing drug problem among youth.”
Hughes spoke as a member of the newly-formed Scioto County Coalition for Drug Abuse Prevention Levy Committee, created to push for passage of the levy. His comments came Thursday at a get-together with two other members of the committee — Dr. Aaron Adams, Scioto County Health Commissioner, and Clarence Parker, director of Summer Outreach Program.
The levy, if successful, would cost $1.46 a month for a home evaluation assessed at $50,000 or $2.92 a month for a home evaluation assessed at $100,000. The levy would raise about $900,000 a year for the effort.
The money wouldn’t go toward drug treatment, but for drug prevention programs, such as:
• Evidence-based curriculum for drug use prevention;
• Educational materials and equipment to support the curriculum.
• A certified prevention educator will be placed in each school district throughout Scioto County.
• A prevention education program to align the county with state and federal initiatives for additional funding.
“And, yes, it’s all to save our kids — the coming generation,” Adams said.
Parker said what’s being spent on prevention programs is shrinking.
“It’s currently a hodgepodge of things being done,” he said. “What we hope to do with this levy is to develop a strategy that will get all the schools and communities using research-based curriculums. With this we will be able to go into all the schools. Everyone will be able to use and do the same thing at the same time.”
Adams said if we don’t get kids by middle school, it’s too late.
“But it will be working together, people from every walk of life, schools, communities, businesses, churches,” Adams aid. “It will make the prevention program so much easier when we sing the same songs in the same key. No more hodgepodge.”
Hughes agreed. “There’s been up to now no central message. We have parents trying to help their kids. We have a few teachers, guidance counselors trying things here and there. Faithbased communities are trying to do something within their own churches. It’s been like trying to bring down an elephant with a BB gun.”
The committee will have a booth at the Scioto County Fair from Aug. 8 to 13 to further explain the levy.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236, or firstname.lastname@example.org.