Preston drug education program on track to start in fall

KINGWOOD — Two years after the Preston County Commission began looking into a drug education program for elementary students, it is close to becoming a reality.
Commissioners Craig Jennings, Dave Price and Don Smith set aside $10,000 in the 2016-’17 budget to begin a program of drug abuse prevention. They kept the money in the current fiscal year’s budget.
Price said they now hope to have at least part of the program in elementary schools this fall. Commissioners have said they want to focus first on younger students, to get the message out of the dangers of drug abuse.
They have worked with the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office on developing a program, because the office already offers some drug education to schools. A proposed curriculum was received last year. Preston County Schools and the Preston County Family Resource Network are also onboard.
A meeting between all involved at the end of February was “very productive,” County Administrator Kathy Mace said. The program now being looked at includes information that will be sent home to parents.
Price said they also discussed an offer to train teachers to use the programs.
“What we’re looking at is these programs that have been proven to work,” Price said.
He is also lobbying for the return of the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program to Preston County schools. Such a program would have to be presented by a certified police officer.
“I think we’re finally making some headway,” Price said. “It’s my intention to have at least part of it in the school system,” this fall.