Volunteers with the Drug-Free South are saying that every penny counts in the struggle to end drug abuse.
According to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services website, “The abuse of prescription drugs, specifically opioids, is an epidemic in Tennessee, with disastrous and severe consequences to Tennesseans of every age including: overdose deaths, emergency department visits, hospital costs, newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, children in state custody, and people incarcerated for drug-related crimes.”
The Tennessean recently ran an article titled “Tennessee teens' appetite for hard drugs grows,” in which the newspaper states, “Tennessee teenagers are using heroin and shooting up drugs at twice the national average, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And many more — roughly one in every five — pop pills for recreational use.”
“That’s exactly why we have to work harder than ever before,” says Rev. Brian Fesler who coordinates Drug-Free South, a chapter of the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. Fesler says Tennessee is in danger and, “we have to double and triple our efforts to create drug-free zones.”
Volunteer Anne Vallieres with Drug-Free South (DFS) recently contacted a teacher in Spring City, a rural area in Rhea County, Tennessee. She said crystal meth is a serious problem in Rhea County, a problem she wanted to solve. She had ordered some free materials from the Foundation’s website and wanted more, but her school did not have enough funds for shipment. Vallieres emptied her penny jar and gathered some donations to ship a DVD on the Truth About Drugs, as well as pamphlets on the Truth About Marijuana and the Truth About Crystal Meth.
This is all part of DFS’ continued efforts to create drug-free zones across Tennessee. DFS works with youth, educators, parents, community leaders and law enforcement officers to provide drug education to children and teens by working together with the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. DFS uses a series of drug education resources that work—a multimedia program that speaks to the youth of today, informing them of the truth about drugs and empowering them to make their own decisions to live drug-free.
The cornerstone of the program is a series of booklets that provide the facts about the most commonly abused drugs: marijuana, alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine, crack cocaine, crystal meth, inhalants, heroin, LSD, prescription drugs, painkillers, and Ritalin.
Drug-Free South is dedicated to handling the drug problem in Tennessee, and wants to encourage all educators to visit drugfreesouth.org to schedule a drug education seminar in their school. “2014 is the year to reverse the demand for drugs in Tennessee,” says Fesler.