Drug Free Stark County

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The Drug Free Stark County community coalition began in 2006. Since that time, the coalition has achieved many milestones. The coalition has been recognized on the local and state level for its work in substance abuse prevention and community education and awareness.

The coalition works with members of the local community such as law enforcement personnel, school administrators, students, guidance counselors, health care workers, alcohol and drug treatment providers, the faith-based community and local business people. We have several committees in which these community representatives are involved.

Vision Stark County citizens will live in an educated, healthy community that is purposefully drug free.

Mission The mission of Drug Free Stark County is to promote a drug-free community by mobilizing diverse partnerships; developing, implementing and supporting environmental strategies; and increasing public awareness of the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

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Recent Coalition strategies to impact Stark County’s opiate epidemic include:

  • Hosting a series of Opiate Town Hall meetings in collaboration with the Opiate Task Force, beginning in January 2012 and held in strategic locations across Stark County such as Massillon, Alliance, Perry and Jackson Township
  • Hosting Operation Street Smart and Hidden in Plain Sight community presentations
  • Creating the online Opiate Prevention Toolkit in partnership with the Stark County Educational Service Center and Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery. An online collection of prevention resources and facts for students, parents and educators, the resource is grouped by ages for elementary, middle and high school students
  • Development of community resources that outline the importance of monitoring, securing and safely disposing of all medications in the home, office and on campus
  • Creation of the 5-Point Strategy card for adults to encourage safe medication practices
  • Customized Gov. Kasich’s Start Talking resources for Stark County residents
  • In collaboration with Stark County Youth Led Prevention members, parents and SOLACE members, created a youth-driven video that discusses the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse for use in Stark County Family Court, PSAs for County schools and during National Drug Facts Week in January

With support from StarkMHAR, the coalition will be developing an opiate prevention curriculum, a science-based opiate prevention module that meets the mandates of HB 367 and the core curriculum guidelines.

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This age appropriate, science-based curriculum will be presented to students in fifth and eighth grades, as well as in high school to provide repeated and consistent information about the dangers of prescription drug and opiate misuse and abuse. Key to the success of the opiate prevention curriculum is parent involvement and stigma reduction; strategies for parent/child engagement, prevention action steps and awareness are built into to each grade level module.

Coalition Goals

  • To enhance and expand efforts to address the specific problems of underage drinking, tobacco and marijuana use by Stark County youth
  • To strengthen and mobilize collaboration that improves community efforts to promote and implement effective, research based prevention strategies
  • To reduce risk factors and promote protective factors that influence age of onset, substance use among youth, perceptions of risk or harm, and perception of disapproval of use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs

Advisory Committee Members

  • Dale Batdorff, Dolphin Electric, Business Representative
  • Krysta Bennett, Quest Recovery and Prevention Services, Youth-Serving Representative
  • Michelle Beyer, WNPQ, Media Representative
  • Lynette Blasiman: Parent/Representative
  • Kimberly Douce, United Way of Greater Stark County, Volunteer Group Representative
  • Sharon George, Stark County Sherriff’s Department
  • Abby Leonard, Stark County Family Court, Law Enforcement Representative
  • LaMiesha Lytle, Youth Representative
  • Kay Port, CARE Team, School Representative
  • Adelaide Reichert, Drug Free Workplace Training Facilitator
  • Kathie Wakefield, Crossroads United Methodist Church, Faith Community Representative

Sub-Committees of the Coalition

  • Red Ribbon Committee The Red Ribbon was first used as an awareness symbol after DEA Agent Enrique Camarena was kidnapped and murdered while working undercover in Mexico. Citizens of his home town in California wore red ribbons to emphasize the need for increased prevention efforts. In 1988, Red Ribbon Week became a national campaign.
  • Parents Who Host Lose the Most Committee (PWH) The “Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking” public awareness campaign was developed by Drug-Free Action Alliance in 2000 to educate parents about the health and safety risks of serving alcohol at teen parties and to increase awareness of and compliance with the Ohio Underage Drinking Laws. (Source: Drug-Free Action Alliance Website)
  • Fetal Alcohol and Spectrum Disorders Committee (FASD) Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. (Source: SAMHSA)
  • Anti-Tobacco Committee A group committed to raising awareness about the harmful effects of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
  • Faith Partners Committee A forum of local ministers, pastors, lay people and provider agencies who are formulating options for intervention and recovery for members of their congregations and faith communities.
  • Teen Advisory Board Area high school students who meet and discuss the needs of the local youth population and how we might come together as a community to meet those needs most effectively.

Coalition meetings are held regularly at Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery. Please join us to learn more about how you can help! Contact Health and Wellness Manager Fran Gerbig at 330-455-6644 or Fran.Gerbig@StarkMHAR.org.