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Wood County Schools receives funding for drug, alcohol prevention programs

Drug and alcohol awareness and prevention programs for Wood County schools. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — Wood County Schools has received funding from the West Virginia Department of Education to purchase materials for drug and alcohol awareness and prevention programs under the state Department of Health and Human Resources Substance Use Response Plan issued in January of this year.

The Department of Education was awarded a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration block grant and Wood County Schools received $69,000 for kindergarten through the 12th grade.

The funds will be used to purchase drug prevention and education curriculums for the schools, according to Cathy Grewe, Wood County coordinator of Assessment and Student Services,

Grewe submitted the application and Wood County received the grant during the summer.

A committee of counselors and educators from Wood County Schools met to plan the prevention curriculum and the materials used. Grewe also said schools received the materials within the last two weeks.

“I happen to be the contact person for Wood County Schools. I am a coordinator of student services and I work with drug prevention in the county. So it naturally fell on me to be the contact person for the grant,” Grewe said.

In elementary grades, school counselors will deliver most of the drug prevention education while counselors in the middle and high schools will oversee and coordinate the education that goes on within the classroom.

Among the programs that will be used in the elementary schools will be teaching them to make good, healthy choices and how to use coping skills so that they don’t resort to drugs later in life. It will educate students about the dangers of what drugs and alcohol will do to your body and what they can do to their lives.

Another program to be used is “Keep a Clear Mind,” will provide information about the effects alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and making healthy choices will do to the body.

Middle and high school students will be watching a series hosted by the actor Matt Damon presenting real-life stories from teenagers who became addicted to alcohol, how it affected their lives and how they encourage students to stay away.

“Catch My Breath” targets the dangers of tobacco vaping and “Project Alert” and “And Keepin’ It Real” both target drug education.

While the school year has been different in years past thanks to COVID-19, Grewe said the schools still have to tackle opioid addiction to make sure students will avoid the dangers later in their lives.

“We really can’t do enough to educate the children about the dangers of drugs and the importance of prevention as they develop through their school years. It really does kind of shed light on the seriousness of it, because we’re so focused on COVID,” Grewe said. “What’s happening with that is sometimes we don’t really realize how bad the opioid epidemic is.”

Tyler Bennett can be reached at tbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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