JERSEY - The Jersey County Against Drugs Coalition will host a Family Wellbeing Forum on March 12, 2020, at the JCHS gymnasium. The event will run from 6:00-8:30 pm and the doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

Jersey County Against Drugs Coalition (JCAD) is helping families to prevent and treat substance abuse in children and teens. Their focus is youth who are 11-18 years old and their families in Jersey County. They help families by identifying and implementing evidence-based substance abuse prevention services with a focus on alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use. JCAD does this in cooperation with the local schools, law, government and community as a whole.

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Rich Portwood, the School Resource Officer, said, “Substance abuse is prevalent in our community. We deal with it and the effects on individuals and our community as a whole every day.”

“It can be easy to look at our own families and think that substance abuse is something that happens to other people, in different circumstances. But experience tells us that substance abuse can happen to anyone that isn’t properly educated – it happens to the rich and famous, to kids from good families, and to people with no prior history of abuse.”

JCAD’s Family Wellbeing Forum will have resources on offer to help families and children with prevention, treatment and recovery. Resources such as DARE, the Jersey County Health Department, Oasis Women’s Shelter, and Chestnut Health Systems will be there available with further information and to answer questions that anyone may have.

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Additionally, from 7-8 p.m., there will be a question and answer session with an expert panel where JCAD members will pose some common questions. This will be followed by an opportunity for the audience members to ask their own questions.

Rita Robertson, the Substance Use Prevention Services Grant Coordinator for Jersey Community School District 100 is one of the many people organizing this Forum. She said, “This is not your typical health fair. This is a Call to Action. This is a community outreach in response to the ever-growing presence of underage drug use among youth and adults. Drug use encompasses alcohol, marijuana, eCigs of all forms, cigarettes, including smokeless tobacco, opioid use and other forms of drugs.”

“We want parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, caregivers, concerned citizens and kids themselves to understand the effect of substances on the developing brain. A 17-year-old having a beer is not the same as a 30-year-old having a beer. Aside from it being illegal, the alcohol has a different consequence for a developing brain in a 17-year-old than it does for the 30-year-old. The same is true for nicotine, whether it is vaped or smoked, marijuana, or any other substance.”

She continued, “The world our kids are growing up in is different to the one that we grew up in. The things that worked for our parents, won’t necessarily work for us now. But the good news is that we have so many more resources than our parents did, and that our access to information about prevention and treatment is much greater than theirs. If we work together, we can make a difference.”

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Please contact Rita Robertson (618-498-5527 or rita.robertson@jersey100.org) for further information.

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