June 14, 2014 10:50:22 PM
The Lowndes County Prevention Partnership is out to help teens understand just how costly and devastating alcohol and drug abuse can be.
The fifth poster being released by the partnership's "I Only Tried It Once" campaign emphasizes the impact underage drinking, drinking and driving, and drug-related charges can have on an individual's criminal record.
"Whether you have done drugs one time or a hundred times, it will not matter to police officers who discover drugs in your possession; you can still go to jail and be required to pay penalties," said Martha Wooten of Community Counseling Services (CCS). For anyone with multiple charges on their record, significant and lengthy prison sentences can be enforced.
A person charged with a DUI in the state of Mississippi may stay not more than 48 hours in jail for the first offense, five days in jail for the second offense, and for third and subsequent offenses, a minimum of one-to-five years must be served in the state penitentiary, a CCS press release outlined.
"If you have a DUI accident where someone is injured, you could face five to 25 years in prison depending on the severity of the injury," Wooten stated.
Not only are jail and prison sentences frightning, but fines and penalties associated with DUI's are costly. A first offense could cost anywhere from $250 to $1,000. A third offense could cost a maximum of $5,000. If a driver injures someone in a DUI wreck, the penalty can be up to $10,000. Losing a driver's license for 90 days can also be problematic for the offender, cited CCS.
A drug possession charge in the state of Mississippi can carry harsh penalties whether someone is a first-time offender or has an extensive criminal history -- and whether caught with a year's supply of drugs or merely a gram.
Someone apprehended with less than .1 gram of methamphetamine, heroin or cocaine can face four years in prison and fines reaching up to $10,000. These numbers increase as the amount of the drug possessed increases. Possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana will cost $250 for a first offense; however, for multiple offenders, jail time and increased fines are required, the release said.
The awareness posters are widely distributed in locations young people gather, such as schools, Boys and Girls Clubs and skating rinks.
For more information about the campaign, contact Santee Ezell at SEzell@ccsms.org or call 662-328-9225. To learn more about or join the partnership, contact Whitney Whites, 662-328-9225.
Community Counseling Services is a comprehensive community mental health center providing quality mental health care through diversified services. For more information about CCS, call 524-4347 or visit ccsms.org.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.