Leaders in the community, from school board members to county commissioners, continue to discuss the recent spike in illegal drug use.
School Board member Sonya Cox, said in the Feb. 6 board of education meeting, “In light of things happening recently, particularly the amount of overdoses we’re seeing, I’m getting asked more questions. One of the pieces of this seems to be education and raising awareness.”
Doug Rose, Director of Career and Technical Education shared with the board the anti-drug programs currently conducted in Stokes County Schools.
In fourth grade, elementary students are taught medication safety in an interactive classroom setting. As they move on to fifth grade, students begin a 10-week DARE curriculum focused on making good choices. Young people learn how to best deal with peer pressure and the program teaches the harmful facts about tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.
Middle school students delve into a 10-day drug education program provided through the state.
“Insight program specialists meet with students for two class periods yearly to supplement the school curriculum regarding substance abuse education and awareness,” Rose explained. “The presentation is customized to each grade level so that a full range of information is given to students over three years.”
In high school, a detailed curriculum, usually taught through health classes, focuses on all major drug groups. The teens also hear engaging guest speakers and are encouraged to sign the Safe and Sober Prom Promise.
At Thursday’s Stokes County Concerned Citizens (SCCC) meeting held at South Stokes, Superintendent Dr. Brad Rice shared how the school system is handling the issues through programs in the classroom, but also encouraged parents to keep the communication open with their children.
“It’s going to take all of us to battle this. Talk to you kids. Listen to them. I’m a parent of high school kids and we get tired and we get beat down, but they are our kids and they still want us in their lives. Sometimes they tell us they don’t because they’re trying to see how much we really want to be there.”
The superintendent added, “We’re on your side. We’re partnering with you; we want what’s best for your kids.”
At Monday’s county commissioners meeting, board chair Jimmy Walker, said he was encouraged by the community interest at the SCCC meeting.
“I hope our board begins thinking about what we can do collectively to help deal with this issue. Folks, we don’t need to see our young people dying. We don’t need to see anyone dying from this. If we can come together, work together and deal with it, we might make some real progress. That’s my hope and my prayer.”
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.