Students, parents invited to session regarding substance use prevention

Students and parents in Albemarle are invited to attend a town hall event focused on substance use prevention.

Stanly County Schools partnered with the Stanly County Health Department and the Center for Prevention Services in Charlotte to host Community Conversation, which will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Albemarle High School auditorium. It is the first in a series of four sessions that will take place throughout the county over the coming months. 

The conversations are one part of a program designed by the Center for Prevention Services, thanks to a $1.25 million Partnership for Success grant, to combat the opioid crisis in the county. The grant will provide approximately $260,000 per year to fund new efforts in Stanly aimed at reducing substance abuse.

Topics that will be discussed include substance use prevention, risk behaviors and trends among youth.

Public Health Education Specialist Wendy Growcock will moderate the event, and talk about efforts ongoing in the county to curb the epidemic including Project Lazarus, which is a group comprised of public health, health care, law enforcement, mental health personnel and concerned citizens to combat drug abuse.

The five other speakers include: EMS paramedic Ashley Hernandez, who will talk about the community paramedic program and Narcan administration; Will’s Place Executive Director Delton Russell, who will talk about youth brain development; Albemarle Police Chief David Dulin, who will discuss prevalence and trends of substance abuse in the city; CPS grant manager Neetu Verma, who will discuss an overview of the grant programs initiates; and CPS Youth Coordinator Kaitlin Smith, who will talk about signs and symptoms of substance abuse. 

The plan is to have a 45-minute panel discussion followed by a question and answer session.

“We really want parents to hear what they have to offer and take advantage,” Verma said. 

The three remaining conversations will take place at the other three high schools in the county next year.