The Times West Virginian

October 5, 2013

Message to youth: All not using drugs, drinking alcohol

By Emily Gallagher
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Resources for families, children and teens will be available during the month of October thanks to the Marion County Family Resource Network (FRN).

Debbie Mann, the youth services coordinator and Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (SAPC) coordinator at FRN, said the organization is holding several activities where families, children and teens can gain valuable resources.

Of those events, Red Ribbon Week, which is from Oct. 23-31, is one of the most important activities the FRN participates in. The Red Ribbon Campaign is recognized as the oldest and largest drug-prevention program in the nation

Mann said this is the second year the Marion County Teen Task Force, the youth branch of the SAPC, has held Red Ribbon Week throughout schools in Marion County.

“We’re going to be in a number of the middle schools and high schools,” she said.

One of the main points the task force is making this year through Red Ribbon is telling kids that not everybody is doing drugs or drinking alcohol

“We’re trying to get this through with

the students, especially middle school students,” Mann said. “Their thought is once they get to high school everybody is doing drugs or drinking alcohol.”

During this week, high school students in the task force will visit middle schools in the county to talk to students about drugs and alcohol.

As they did last year, the task force will be providing red ribbons, red ribbon stickers, and red suckers to students in Marion County. Mann said they will also be at several athletic events for both high school and middle school sports.

“We’re going to be at East-West Stadium again this year for both middle school games and high school games,” she said.

The FRN is also going to be providing pregnant women and mothers with newborns baby items. They’ll be giving items out at a community baby shower.

“The baby shower is for pregnant women and moms who have newborns and have been referred by one of our local agencies,” Mann said. “The baby shower provides necessities for the moms and infants as well as a number of informational and educational presentations and opportunities.”

Mann said the FRN is collecting items such as size 1, 2 and 3 diapers, baby wipes, baby shampoo and wash, pacifiers and other necessities.

To donate items, call the FRN at 304-366-4445. All items much be in by Oct. 21.

Just recently, the FRN held a Help Me Grow Kids Day at the Middletown Mall. Mann said it was a free event for families with children 6 years old and under.

“It included a character breakfast with Spiderman, Rocketman, Batman, Dora the Explorer and the Why Kids from PBS,” she said. “There were many community resources and agencies available for the parents.”

Members from the Marion County Teen Task Force were dressed up as the characters, and there were games and prizes throughout the event.

Mann said they also provided contact information and details on the Help Me Grow program which provides screening and resources for children who may have developmental delays.

Lauren Prinzo, executive director of the FRN, said they had a great response to the day with it being the first year for it.

“We had 57 families register, and 54 showed up plus more that day,” she said.

Mann said there is a Prescription Drug Take Back Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26. She said the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is partnering with local law enforcement to collect unused, expired and extra prescriptions.

“Most youth abusers get their first pills from their own homes or homes of family members and friends,” Mann said.

Prescriptions can be dropped off at the Fairmont City Police Station, White Hall Pharmacy and Rider Pharmacy. Those who are unable to physically drop prescriptions off can arrange for someone to pick them up by calling the FRN.

Email Emily Gallagher at egallagher@timeswv.com or follow her on‚ÄąTwitter @EGallagherTWV.