Drug awareness will be subject at lunch and learns

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Barry County Connections Coalition will be sponsoring a series of lunch and learns, "Not for Human Consumption," which focuses on drugs.

The first lunch and learn will be held at noon on Friday, May 10 in conference room C at Mercy Hospital in Cassville. The second event will be held at noon on Monday, May 13 in conference room A at Cox Monett Hospital.

Representatives from Cassville and Monett law enforcement will give presentations on drug use patterns.

Steve Miller, prevention specialist from Community Partnership of the Ozarks, will speak about current drug trends. A panel discussion will be held with personnel from area medical, law enforcement, prevention and treatment professionals about pro-active steps the community can take to reduce risk factors. Speakers will provide advice on how parents can discuss the issues with children.

"Unfortunately it is a common practice for kids to experiment with synthetic drugs and there are uncommon consequences from their innocence," said Leesa Ginther, Barry County Health Department registered nurse. "There have been at least four teenage deaths attributed to synthetic drug use over the past two years in southwest Missouri.

"The 2012 Missouri student survey for Barry County reports 7.65 percent of ninth graders have used a synthetic drug, compared to a state average of 6.77 percent," Ginther continued. "This overall number is concerning to prevention specialists. The numbers grow further apart among 10th graders in Barry County, compared to the state. Seniors are about 2.8 percent higher when compared to the state average."

This is the first time a program has been offered in Barry County, hosted by Mercy Hospital in Cassville and Cox Hospital Auxiliary in Monett. The events are free to the public with lunch included.

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