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Mineral Wells Elementary holds drug awareness program

West Virginia DNR Officer Justin Thompson speaks with students Wednesday at Mineral Wells Elementary School about his job and firearms safety during the school’s annual drug awareness program. Though many of the speakers are focused on drug awareness, they also talk to students about health, safety and making good decisions. (Photo by Michael Erb)

MINERAL WELLS — Students met with law enforcement officers and first responders Wednesday as part of Mineral Wells Elementary School’s annual drug awareness program.

Activities included hearing about K9 units, wearing goggles which simulate the effects of alcohol, and having the opportunity to ask questions about law enforcement and safety. The West Virginia State Police, West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Wood County Sheriff’s Department, Wood County e911 Center, the Wood County Day Report Center, Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department, Parkersburg South High School Prevention Resource Officer Todd Lambiotte, Parkersburg Police Department and Homeland Security had representatives at the event Wednesday.

Principal Melissa Powers said the program for fourth- and fifth-grade students is important not only to raise awareness, but also to familiarize students with police and other first responders.

“Lots of different agencies participate with us to make sure our kids have all the knowledge they need to make good decisions,” she said. “It gives the students the opportunity to ask questions and talk about what’s going on in their lives. Now they know, all these different agencies, are people they can go to if they need help.”

Event organizer Joe Kiger said this year’s program was expanded to include more information on opioids and addiction, as well as the dangers of vaping.

Wood County Sheriff’s Department K9 Ogi holds his plastic chew baton while visiting a classroom at Mineral Wells Elementary School on Wednesday. Ogi and his handler Deputy Tyler Marlow met with fourth- and fifth-graders at the school as part of an annual drug awareness and safety program. (Photo by Michael Erb)

“As new things come about, we add those to the agenda,” Powers said.

Michael Erb can be reached at merb@newsandsentinel.com.

Mineral Wells Elementary School fourth-graders Bella Walters, left, and Alana Willis, right, watch classmate Cash Nicholas try to walk a line while wearing goggles that simulate the effects of alcohol. The activity Wednesday was part of the school’s drug awareness program. (Photo by Michael Erb)

Mineral Wells Elementary School fifth-grader Ty Rhodes wears a fire helmet while listening to a guest speaker Wednesday during the school’s drug awareness program. The event gives students a chance to meet and interact with first responders in a positive environment. (Photo by Michael Erb)

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