POINT PLEASANT — A Community Drug Awareness town hall meeting will be Sunday evening in Point Pleasant, and while the event is open to the public, organizers are focusing on a specific group in the hopes they will attend.
Hosted by the Mason County Prevention Coalition, co-chairman Greg Fowler said the Sunday date was specifically chosen to appeal to middle-aged and older folks who may not know what is going on around them when it comes to addiction.
“We want to inform them so maybe they can recognize the symptoms, as well as help with the prevention efforts,” Fowler said.
The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. at the First Church of the Nazarene, 2500 Mt. Vernon Ave.
Fowler said the meeting is being sponsored by Prestera Center for Mental Health Services Inc. and presenters will discuss mainly heroin and prescription painkillers.
Tim White, of Prestera, will present a 20-minute video, followed by a panel discussion. Among the panelists will be Mason County Sheriff Greg Powers, Prosecuting Attorney Craig Tatterson, Sgt. J.M. Finnicum, of the West Virginia State Police, and Karen Yost, of Prestera.
Fowler added White will also be sharing some experiences of what is happening in the community and region. A question-and-answer session will follow.
“We need to recognize the fact that there are a lot of addiction problems here, and that includes both over-the-counter and prescription drugs, as well as alcohol and tobacco,” Fowler said. “The best way to slow it down is prevention.”
He added since a lot of churches no longer conduct Sunday evening services, he hopes to fill the church to capacity.
“We want to reach people who aren’t normally exposed to this information,” Fowler said. “I guarantee people will definitely learn something they don’t know.”
The prevention coalition and several other agencies will have informational tables set up. Prevention coalition co-chairman and Pastor Richard Sargent will welcome those attending.
The county prevention coalition engages in many activities throughout the year, including back-to-school events, the annual Youth Expo, and high school Students Against Destructive Decisions (S.A.D.D.) groups. Another of the group’s events, Drug Take Back Day, is set for Oct. 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to coordinator Brittni Kaylor. She said the locations will be the New Haven Fire Station and the courthouse annex parking lot in Point Pleasant.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.