November 11, 2013 8:50:53 AM
Drug prevention classes will soon be offered in the Lowndes County area.
The Lowndes County Office of Community Counseling Services was recently awarded a drug and alcohol prevention grant by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health.
The second leading cause of death in Lowndes County in 2007 was drug and alcohol abuse. The leading cause of death is motor vehicle accidents, with 38 percent of those being alcohol related, according to a press release issued by Community Counseling.
Lowndes County was one of 11 counties in the state selected as a grant recipient. According to the press release, "Eleven counties in the state in five separate geographic locations were selected and challenged with educating area youth in a way that will help to reduce underage drinking, prescription drug overdoses, and motor vehicle fatalities where drug and alcohol are involved."
Community Counseling grant administrator Whitney Whites said her organization hopes to reach school-aged children who may be tempted to abuse drugs or alcohol.
"Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among adolescents and is closely related to absenteeism, truancy, poor grades and higher drop-out rates," Whites said. "Studies show that youth who begin drinking at early ages are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who abstained until age 21."
She added, "Underage drinking and drug abuse is a community problem that needs a community solution. With the school year in full swing, now is the perfect time to talk to students about the dangerous consequences of abusing alcohol and drugs. Each of us plays an important role in keeping our kids drug-free and this campaign will help create a healthy environment for the children of Lowndes County to live, learn and grow."
Dates for the prevention classes have not yet been announced.
Sarah Fowler covers crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter @FowlerSarah
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