On June 4, students from the Alderson Elementary School’s third, fourth and fifth grade who graduated from the Drug Resistance Education Program were given certificates and they, and their parents or guardians, were treated to dinner.
The dinner was catered by The Corner Café in Union and included fried chicken, ham, scalloped and mashed potatoes, small corn dogs (a favorite of the kids), mac and cheese, fruit and several desserts. After the meal, Mayor Travis Copenhaver welcomed the students, parents, school personnel, members of the Alderson Police Department, and other visitors.
Autumn Kirk, RN, school nurse for Alderson Elementary, described the content of the program. She said, “The first class was about the safe use of over-the-counter medications and prescription medications. The abuse of prescription drugs is happening at an earlier age. We discussed the risks and consequences of misusing medications. Then we moved on to the dangers of illegal drugs and the abuse of prescription medications. We identified the signs of someone abusing drugs, the effect that can have on your body and your whole life, and how to get help. Finally we discussed peer pressure and how to make good choices to live a drug-free life style.”
Paula McCoy, RN, lead school nurse for Greenbrier County, noted that much of the material came from the National Association of School Nurses.
Principal Debbie Fairchild said, “Staff were sensitized to the problem during a teacher training day in the fall so when Mayor Copenhaver approached me about the program, I said yes.”
Mayor Copenhaver said, “This education program is part of the larger, more comprehensive approach to reducing drug abuse in Alderson. Addiction knows no socio-economic boundaries or race, creed, gender, or religion.”
Tia Humphreys, LPN, Greenbrier County Health Department, asked, “How long do you think Hepatitis C can live in a water bottle that may have been used as part of the process of injecting drugs? Three weeks!” She is a firm believer in the needle exchange program and related the story of a local EMS crew member who ran a needle through his knee when he knelt down to perform CPR on a patient.
Sonja Manspile from the Rainelle Medical Center taught a complementary program called Students Against Destructive Decisions at Alderson Elementary.
Mayor Copenhaver congratulated the students on their accomplishment as he presented the certificates.