Conference helpful to Coalition
On May 5, we attended a halfday conference at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick. The title of the day was “Law Enforcement: A Shield To Underage Drinking.”
Lt. Paul Horoho and Officer Kevin Parsonage, two leaders in the state on this issue, spoke about a new state slogan, “Do you want that call?” and how parents need to get more involved. They were talking about the dreaded call a parent might receive that their child was hurt – or worse – in a car accident. Allison O’Conner, a recent college graduate, told her story. She actually got two DUIs before realizing the danger in which she was putting herself and everyone else. She is now working with MADD to help enlighten others.
Kevin Richard from the Family Court spoke about how therapy and interventions are now being used to address individual and family problems. Random drug and alcohol testing and family involvement are the keys to success. He said that threatening to take away their sports is often the one thing that gets kids’ attention. RYDD is a new program where the community service component is done in a meaningful way. Many of the students do not see alcohol and marijuana as real drugs. There is now a Family Court Mental Health Clinic to deal with the linkage between substance abuse and mental health issues. Of 149 cases, 111 were diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder and 81 of the 111 had a co-occurring mental health disorder.
Victor Ramos of the Woonsocket Prevention Coalition explained how effective coalitions work with partners, such as parents, youth, business and law enforcement. “We’re all in this together” is their media campaign slogan. Lastly, a panel of youth and law enforcement representatives talked about gathering information from Facebook, curfews and working with the colleges.
We felt that it was a productive day and raised issues that needed to be discussed, as well as recharged us to work on the problems and reinforce the strengths in Jamestown.
Anyone interested in joining the Jamestown Prevention Coalition should contact Stephanie at the Lawn Avenue School at 423-7010. Adults and youth are welcome.
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