Drug abuse program to be held

Surry County Schools will offer a program aimed at showing parents what they need to know about illegal drugs and alcohol use among minors, on three separate occasions over the coming weeks.

The program, Drugs Uncovered: What Parent’s & Other Adults Need to Know, will be presented May 8 at Pilot Mountain Middle, May 15 at Meadowview Magnet Middle and May 21 at Central Middle, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each time.

”Statistics for drug and alcohol use by young people are frightening,” the school system said in announcing the program. “Roughly 33 percent of high school students report drinking alcohol in the past 30 days. Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States with more than 90 percent of this alcohol being consumed in the form of binge drinks,” the schools said.

“All of North Carolina and the nation are facing an epidemic of drug overdose deaths. The death rate for heroin overdoses nearly quadrupled from 2012 to 2015 (0.8 to 2.9), and the death rate for prescription opioid overdoses doubled over the same time frame (1.9 to 3.7),” the schools said in a statement about the program.

“A new report mapped out the top 25 worst cities in the U.S. for opioid abuse and North Carolina shows up four times on that list. The report, from Castlight Health, analyzed up-to-date anonymous health data from nearly a million people covered by employer-based insurance. The worst city in America for opioid abuse according to the study was Wilmington. Hickory was the 5th, followed by Jacksonville at 12th and Fayetteville at 18th.”

The presentation, put together by the Poe Center, is an interactive program that targets parents, caregivers and adults that work with upper elementary, middle school and high school students. Drugs Uncovered introduces adults to the current trends regarding alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; health risks associated with adolescent use/abuse; the North Carolina alcohol laws and parental responsibility; and techniques for open communication and dialog with adolescents.

Adults 18 and older are encouraged to attend one of the presentations. This program includes a tour of a mock teenage bedroom for attendants to uncover more than 70 “obvious and discreet signs of substance use.”

In addition to the drug abuse prevention program, Dr. Travis L. Reeves, superintendent of Surry County Schools, will be available to answer questions about the new proposed year-round school calendar from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m/ prior to each presentation.