Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wellsville expanding anti-drug effort

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 1/24/2014

WELLSVILLE — A local police department is continuing its push for drug education in schools.

Members of the Wellsville Police Department distributed copies of the 112-page handbook, “Drug Safety: Smart choices for LIFE,” Wednesday along with educational DVDs featuring an interactive quiz to all seventh-grade students at Wellsville Middle School, 602 Walnut St. The handbook and DVD, produced through the organization Community Safety Net, was handed out to about 75 students, Steve Gillespie, Wellsville police chief, said.

WELLSVILLE — A local police department is continuing its push for drug education in schools.

Members of the Wellsville Police Department distributed copies of the 112-page handbook, “Drug Safety: Smart choices for LIFE,” Wednesday along with educational DVDs featuring an interactive quiz to all seventh-grade students at Wellsville Middle School, 602 Walnut St. The handbook and DVD, produced through the organization Community Safety Net, was handed out to about 75 students, Steve Gillespie, Wellsville police chief, said.

“We are doing that through cooperation with [Community] Safety Net and several business owners and individuals in the community who have helped donate the funds needed to provide that information to the seventh-graders,” Gillespie said.

The handbook is designed to educate and increase awareness of substance abuse where students learn effective ways to resist peer pressure, while parents receive tips on how to help their kids stay drug-free, along with important resource contacts and information, according to a news release.

“It is much easier to build strong young people than it is to repair broken adults, so if we provide our young people with the tools, information and support they need, they will be enabled to make the right decisions as they continue their journey into adulthood,” Gillespie said.

In addition to the handbooks, the Wellsville Police Department also plans to work with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in February to bring the DARE [Drug Abuse Resistance Education] program to Wellsville fifth-graders, Gillespie said. The program is expected to last roughly from February until the end of the semester.

“Typically it is a semester-long program where a DARE officer will go into the school one hour a week and actually teach a class,” Gillespie said. “Led by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, we are going to start the DARE program in the grade school, so the sheriff’s office is providing a DARE officer and Wellsville is providing an officer to assist.”

All fifth-graders will participate, unless their parents decide to opt their child out of the program, he said.

The Wellsville Police Department also has aided in safety awareness at Wellsville High School, 602 Walnut St. At the beginning of the school year, the Wellsville Police Department helped set up the SAFE [Seatbelts Are For Everyone] organization at the school.

“That is taking place in the high school now,” Gillespie said. “We started it back when school started. We come help with it and they have a school counselor. It is the students holding each other accountable for wearing their seat belts.”

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