Drug Free Coalition holds town hall meeting about underage drinking

| October 25, 2019

Leondra Davis, from the Coshocton County Juvenile Court, speaks to an attendee of the Coshocton County Drug Free Coalition’s Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking held on Thursday, Oct. 24 at Kids America. Jen Jones | Beacon

COSHOCTON – A study of popular music discovered that one in three songs mentions drugs, alcohol or tobacco use and that three in four rap songs mentions them. Over a nine year time frame, the top 100 movies more than seven in 10 movies showed characters smoking and one in three showed people getting drunk.  These facts are presented in “Drugs: Shatter the Myth” published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

These facts are why, about two years ago, several people came together to form the Coshocton County Drug Free Coalition. Beth Cormack, director of Coshocton Behavioral Health Choices, said, “The coalition is made up of churches, schools, businesses and agencies that saw a need in the community and banded together to do what they could to make a difference with the drug problem.”  Their campaign is called “Be Aware.”

“The coalition received a grant to hold a town hall meeting on underage drinking,” said Cormack. The meeting was held at Kids America on Thursday, Oct. 24.

“The United Way of Coshocton gave us money to produce a video that will be premiered tonight and shared throughout the community. The Guernsey County Sheriff’s Department and the Drug and Alcohol Program allowed us to come and use their trailer to film our video,” said Cormack. The trailer is designed to look like a child’s bedroom and shows things parents should watch for that may be signs their child is experimenting with drugs. “Parents, and grandparents, often don’t know that common things they see every day can be used for drugs.”

The video premiere was for adults only. While the adults were watching it, several agencies had activities planned for children. Pizza was also available and many county agencies were on hand to share what they do. Attendees received a sticker from each agency and those who visited all of them were put in a drawing for door prizes.

Cormack also shared that one easy thing parents can do is watch their medicine cabinet closely. “Many people have extra pills there. Maybe they had a tooth pulled and kept the extra pain medication, just in case. Kids are taking those extra pills. She also urged parents to get kids interested in activities such as sports, scouts, music or reading. “Busy kids are much less likely to go looking for excitement with drugs.”

Leondra Davis is the quality improvement coordinator for the juvenile court and oversees a grant to develop and implement strategies for Safe Care Plans. Safe Care Plans help by coordinating services, early intervention, home visits, substance abuse treatment, supportive services and many others. “If a person walks into any agency and wants help, all of the agencies can work together to develop a Self Care Plan for the family.” She also said that because the agencies are working together, if the grant doesn’t get renewed, they will be able to continue providing services to the community. “Parents can get sober – we have to help them learn how to be a sober parent.”

Coshocton County Drug Free Coalition shares that, according to Partnership for a Drug-Free America, teens who say they learn a lot about drug risks from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to misuse prescription drugs, but only about a third say they learn a lot from their parents. For more information about the coalition, visit www.drugfreecoshocton.com or call 740-295-7311.

Remember – They don’t need perfect, they need a parent. Start talking.

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