Regional School Unit 13 Superintendent John McDonald. Rockland Police Chief Bruce Boucher, Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison, and veteran retired educator Tom Mellor will be on the committee looking at dealing with the substance abuse problem in the Rockland area. A start up meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Rockland District Middle School’s cafeteria. BDN photo by Stephen Betts.
ROCKLAND, Maine — Community leaders will get together Wednesday evening to determine how to tackle the area’s drug abuse crisis.
Longtime Rockland educator Tom Mellor is spearheading the effort.
“This is a grassroots effort to prevent substance abuse and support recovery,” Mellor said.
The meeting will be held 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12, in the Rockland District Middle School cafeteria.
Knox County Sheriff Donna Dennison said substance abuse is a serious problem that she believes is worse than years prior.
Rockland Police Chief Bruce Boucher said that the type of drugs that are the most prevalent ebb and flow. But, he said, substance abuse often starts with alcohol, then marijuana and “then it takes off” into other drugs.
The chief and sheriff pointed out that several years ago, abuse of prescription painkillers diverted from legitimate patients was the biggest problem. But as law enforcement and the medical community worked to better monitor painkiller prescriptions, many people turned to heroin.
Drugs also are a problem in schools.
“Drug abuse is a societal issue and schools are part of society,” Regional School Unit 13 Superintendent John McDonald said.
The superintendent said one source of the problem is that young people are exposed to drug abuse at home. Mellor agreed and gave an example.
“When I was principal at the middle school, an eighth-grade girl was caught with marijuana. She said she smoked it at home with her parents,” Mellor said.
The chief, sheriff and superintendent said drug prevention education is crucial. The sheriff’s office teaches the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, also known as D.A.R.E., to fifth-graders in eight schools across the county.
Boucher said he is a supporter of D.A.R.E., which stopped several years ago in Rockland because of lack of staff in the Police Department, and he would like to reinstate the program in the city. He pointed out, however, that for the program to be fully implemented, the course needs to be taught to fifth, eighth and 11th graders.
“If you only teach English in one year, students are not going to remember,” the sheriff said.
McDonald, who is in his first year as RSU 13’s superintendent, said he would support the return of D.A.R.E. to the school district and he would like to have a school resource officer.
Mellor said that the committee, which includes officials from schools, law enforcement and churches, will meet and hold public hearings in hopes of coming up with a comprehensive plan to address the substance abuse problem.
D.A.R.E is implementing opioid education programs in schools to combat opioid addiction at a younger age. The enhancement lessons are being taught at each grade level…
D.A.R.E. America was privileged to be a recipient of proceeds from the Pamela Gallade Charitable Remainder Unitrust. Pamela Markey Gallade passed away last fall at the age of only 63. Mrs. Gallade was born in North Carolina and raised in Oceanside, California. She...
Photo: D.A.R.E. Officer and Vermilion County Sheriff’s Deputy Jay Miller in his office at the Public Safety Building.
Miller’s duties take to several schools in the county. Parents can use the extra assistance when it comes to helping their children make right decisions…
Read an article about D.A.R.E. by Richard Clayton, Ph.D., former Chair of Health Education and Health Promotion in the College of Public Health at the University of Kentucky. For more than 20 years, he was the director of the federally funded Center for Prevention Research
National Sheriffs’ Association Article: D.A.R.E. Responds to America’s Opioid Crisis with New K-12 Prevention Lessons
Substance abuse prevention education organization D.A.R.E. America has launched new nationwide curricula for law enforcement officer-led D.A.R.E. programs targeting K-12 classrooms, parents, and communities that will challenge the national opioid and prescription…
WATFORD CITY, N.D. - The Watford City Police Department says they've seen increase in underage alcohol, tobacco, and narcotic use in the area. Officers are now working to combat that problem using a program that has been proven to work in some of the biggest cities in...
MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has given the go signal for the Department of Health (DOH) to educate school children from Kindergarten to Grade 12 about the ill effects of taking illegal drugs…
D.A.R.E. is making a difference in Chickasaw County. Houston, Houlka and Okolona have all hosted D.A.R.E. graduation ceremonies over the last two months and that means every fifth grader in Chickasaw County has heard the critical message of this national program. The...
Motivational speaker Retro Bill spoke about ways to recognize and deal with bullying and pressure to use illegal drugs during a presentation at the Williamson Center in Fairfield on Tuesday. Retro Bill told students that at times it was important to rely on the help...