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US CT: Putnam Anti-Drug Group Seeks To Continue Fight

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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v11/n556/a03.html

Newshawk: Write to Marc: http://www.freemarc.ca/

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Sat, 27 Aug 2011

Source: Norwich Bulletin (CT)

Copyright: 2011 GateHouse Media, Inc.

Contact:male2('letters','norwichbulletin.com'); letters@norwichbulletin.com

Website: http://www.norwichbulletin.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2206

Author: Robin Cassella, The Bulletin

 

<P class=clipping>PUTNAM ANTI-DRUG GROUP SEEKS TO CONTINUE FIGHT

 

Putnam, Conn. - The Putnam Partnership to Reduce the Influence of Drugs for Everyone, or PRIDE, is nearing the end of its five-year grant and has applied for funding to keep the organization going for another five years.

 

In 2006, Putnam applied for and received a Drug Free Communities grant, which is funded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. PRIDE has worked to create awareness in the community about drug and alcohol abuse, especially among youth.

 

Project coordinator Romeo Blackmar has applied for a second cycle of funding, which would last through September 2016.

 

Since taking over in 2009, Blackmar has worked to include the community in PRIDE's initiatives, including partnering with the Putnam Police Department and the Putnam Business Association.

 

"Those partnerships were probably the most impactful thing we've done," Blackmar said. "Rather than just concentrating on the schools, we've widened our spectrum, our influence."

 

Currently, 20 percent of the business association's members have signed a contract agreeing to promote a safe, friendly and drug-free community.

 

Improved awareness

 

Although Blackmar doesn't believe PRIDE has had the impact it had hoped to have, he said various events it has sponsored have made awareness much greater.

 

"People tell me you have to be patient; it's not an overnight process," he said. "A lot of our programs won't see results for maybe two, three, four years."

 

Some programs include two Drug Take Back Days, which collected more than 350 pounds of unused, unwanted or expired medication. The drugs were incinerated by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

 

PRIDE's Youth Advisory Board has been active in trying to prevent local stores from selling drug paraphernalia, such as pipes and bongs. With Cumberland Farms already on board, the group hopes to get all businesses in Putnam not to sell the items.

 

"We decided to boycott stores that sell that stuff," Michael Larochelle, 16, a member of the Youth Advisory Board, said. "We'll go in and pretend to buy something, like a soda, and say ‘Oh you sell that stuff here, well we'll go buy our soda somewhere else.' "

 

Larochelle also said he has noticed a decrease in drug and alcohol use in the high school since PRIDE started.

 

Based on survey results of 10th-through 12th-graders, Blackmar said Putnam is following the national trend: a decrease in tobacco and alcohol use, but an increase in marijuana use.

 

"Many states are decriminalizing marijuana and making medical marijuana available," he said. "When a substance gets social approval, there is an increase in use."

 

Blackmar hopes to find out soon if PRIDE has received a grant for years six through 10. Even if PRIDE is denied, programs will continue for at least the next year because of her partnership with Community Prevention and Addiction Services, which received a three-year grant from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

 

"Our strategies will go forward this school year no matter what," Blackmar said. "I'm trying to be positive and optimistic."

 

Putnam parent Julie Sagent said she has seen a difference since PRIDE started and hopes to see the program continue.

 

"It has made Putnam much better, it used to be a huge problem area, but it has cleaned up quite a bit," Sagent said.

 

This school year, PRIDE plans to focus its campaign on the slogan "Don't be a party to underage drinking," making people aware of the consequences of supplying alcohol to minors.

MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.

 

 

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US CT: Putnam Anti-Drug Group Seeks To Continue Fight

facebook.gif stumble.gif diggit.gif reddit.gif delicious.gif

URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v11/n556/a03.html

Newshawk: Write to Marc: http://www.freemarc.ca/

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Sat, 27 Aug 2011

Source: Norwich Bulletin (CT)

Copyright: 2011 GateHouse Media, Inc.

Contact:male2('letters','norwichbulletin.com'); letters@norwichbulletin.com

Website: http://www.norwichbulletin.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/2206

Author: Robin Cassella, The Bulletin

 

<P class=clipping>PUTNAM ANTI-DRUG GROUP SEEKS TO CONTINUE FIGHT

 

Putnam, Conn. - The Putnam Partnership to Reduce the Influence of Drugs for Everyone, or PRIDE, is nearing the end of its five-year grant and has applied for funding to keep the organization going for another five years.

 

In 2006, Putnam applied for and received a Drug Free Communities grant, which is funded by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. PRIDE has worked to create awareness in the community about drug and alcohol abuse, especially among youth.

 

Project coordinator Romeo Blackmar has applied for a second cycle of funding, which would last through September 2016.

 

Since taking over in 2009, Blackmar has worked to include the community in PRIDE's initiatives, including partnering with the Putnam Police Department and the Putnam Business Association.

 

"Those partnerships were probably the most impactful thing we've done," Blackmar said. "Rather than just concentrating on the schools, we've widened our spectrum, our influence."

 

Currently, 20 percent of the business association's members have signed a contract agreeing to promote a safe, friendly and drug-free community.

 

Improved awareness

 

Although Blackmar doesn't believe PRIDE has had the impact it had hoped to have, he said various events it has sponsored have made awareness much greater.

 

"People tell me you have to be patient; it's not an overnight process," he said. "A lot of our programs won't see results for maybe two, three, four years."

 

Some programs include two Drug Take Back Days, which collected more than 350 pounds of unused, unwanted or expired medication. The drugs were incinerated by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.

 

PRIDE's Youth Advisory Board has been active in trying to prevent local stores from selling drug paraphernalia, such as pipes and bongs. With Cumberland Farms already on board, the group hopes to get all businesses in Putnam not to sell the items.

 

"We decided to boycott stores that sell that stuff," Michael Larochelle, 16, a member of the Youth Advisory Board, said. "We'll go in and pretend to buy something, like a soda, and say ‘Oh you sell that stuff here, well we'll go buy our soda somewhere else.' "

 

Larochelle also said he has noticed a decrease in drug and alcohol use in the high school since PRIDE started.

 

Based on survey results of 10th-through 12th-graders, Blackmar said Putnam is following the national trend: a decrease in tobacco and alcohol use, but an increase in marijuana use.

 

"Many states are decriminalizing marijuana and making medical marijuana available," he said. "When a substance gets social approval, there is an increase in use."

 

Blackmar hopes to find out soon if PRIDE has received a grant for years six through 10. Even if PRIDE is denied, programs will continue for at least the next year because of her partnership with Community Prevention and Addiction Services, which received a three-year grant from the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

 

"Our strategies will go forward this school year no matter what," Blackmar said. "I'm trying to be positive and optimistic."

 

Putnam parent Julie Sagent said she has seen a difference since PRIDE started and hopes to see the program continue.

 

"It has made Putnam much better, it used to be a huge problem area, but it has cleaned up quite a bit," Sagent said.

 

This school year, PRIDE plans to focus its campaign on the slogan "Don't be a party to underage drinking," making people aware of the consequences of supplying alcohol to minors.

MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.

 

I would rather my kids made use of cannabis, than drink alcohol and or smoke tobacco...!!!

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