Substance and Health Awareness and Resistance Program
I spelled out the perils of opioids and the need for a community response protocol in my last blog, "Opioids in Alabama" on April 14. In that, I discussed the creation of a local panel to implement a strategic local response and action plan.
We met again on May 10th, and I am happy to report that we have made significant progress, have a plan of action, and we are moving forward.
On December 31, 2017, the Governor's office issued The State of Alabama Opioid Action Plan. This plan is a comprehensive, 4 pronged strategy that consists of Prevention, Intervention, Treatment, and Community Response. The Prevention strategy includes a local call to action for partnerships with youth-based organizations to promote opioid awareness and education.
This is where we set our sights, and we have not only implemented a strategy, we are moving on that strategy, with eager participation from all of the organizations involved, a funding initiative, and actionable items for all of the participants.
The Substance and Health Awareness and Resistance Program, "SHARP", will launch this summer, utilizing a structured training program administered by the Boys and Girls Club of North Central Alabama, with participation from the Morgan County Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney's Office, and Morgan County Community Corrections and Drug Court programs.
This program will be a viable alternative to the DARE program, which has been shown to have been largely ineffective in prevention education, and instead of Law Enforcement interacting with local youth, we will implement a mentoring program where mentors, who have made suitable progress through the criminal justice system and are in recovery can share their life experiences in an interactive environment with high risk youth in a open and matter of fact format.
The objective is to educate, and instill a sense of self-worth and an ability to recognize and avoid the perils of substance abuse, with an initial focus on opioids.
I want to give big thank you to all who have participated in this effort:
Dr. Greg Cheatham
Judge Shelly Waters
Scott Anderson, District Attorney
Ron Puckett, Hartselle Chief of Police and candidate for Sheriff
Randy Cavnar, Retired Decatur Police and candidate for Sheriff
Bill Hopkins, Superintendent, Morgan Co. Schools
Casey Coleman, CEO, Boys and Girls of North Central Alabama
Alan Twelkemeier, Board of Directors, Boys and Girls of North Central Alabama
Konnye Long, Boys and Girls of North Central Alabama
Michael Johnson, Morgan Co. Sheriff's Office Dispatch
Kim Thurston, Community Corrections
Julie Clausen, Secretary, Morgan County Republican Executive Committee
Bill Lawrence, Morgan County Republican Executive Committee
Together we can make a positive impact on the future of our youth, and our County, State, and Country!