Rockland-area leaders to gather for substance abuse prevention summit

November 10th, 2014 by admin Leave a reply »

ROCKLAND, Maine — Community leaders will get together Wednesday evening to determine how to tackle the area’s drug abuse crisis.

Longtime Rockland educator Tom Mellor is spearheading the effort.

“This is a grassroots effort to prevent substance abuse and support recovery,” Mellor said.

The meeting will be held 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, in the Rockland District Middle School cafeteria.

Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison said substance abuse is a serious problem that she believes is worse than years prior.

Rockland Police Chief Bruce Boucher said that the type of drugs that are the most prevalent ebb and flow. But, he said, substance abuse often starts with alcohol, then marijuana and “then it takes off” into other drugs.

The chief and sheriff pointed out that several years ago, abuse of prescription painkillers diverted from legitimate patients was the biggest problem. But as law enforcement and the medical community worked to better monitor painkiller prescriptions, many people turned to heroin.

Drugs also are a problem in schools.

“Drug abuse is a societal issue and schools are part of society,” Regional School Unit 13 Superintendent John McDonald said.

The superintendent said one source of the problem is that young people are exposed to drug abuse at home. Mellor agreed and gave an example.

“When I was principal at the middle school, an eighth-grade girl was caught with marijuana. She said she smoked it at home with her parents,” Mellor said.

The chief, sheriff and superintendent said drug prevention education is crucial. The sheriff’s office teaches the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program,

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