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School drug fight moves into homes

| Thursday, Sept. 25, 2003

To beat back drugs in the schools, the fight needs to be taken to the home front, Monroeville's Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer says.

"We're in the schools talking to the kids," Bill Evans said. "The drug task force realizes that maybe their job is to help reach the parents too. Right now, the concentration is school-related."

The community-driven Monroeville-Pitcairn Drug Task Force also is seeking to train more volunteers, Evans said.

"I think if there were more people involved, we can break out and get more involved recreationally, getting kids in after-school programs and summer programs. With more people those things can come to fruition."

With several events scheduled for October, including the National Red Ribbon drug prevention program Oct. 23-31, the task force recognized a great opportunity to get more people involved.

"We mostly get volunteers from the schools in Monroeville," task force President Andrea Pitschman said. "We have about 10 to 15 volunteers right now. But it fluctuates. The more the better."

Volunteers can be trained to speak on topics such as binge drinking, peer pressure and how to refuse drugs.

To coincide with National Red Ribbon, the task force is sponsoring the Gateway School Decorating Contest, Oct. 23-31. Elementary students will design drug resistance-oriented posters and projects used to decorate their schools.

The task force also is scheduled to participate in the Monroeville Chamber of Commerce Safety and Health Fair. More than 200 children and their families will show their support for drug prevention programs Oct. 3 when they march in the Gateway High School Homecoming Parade.

The task force was created in 1982 to provide education and services to raise the level of awareness regarding substance abuse in Monroeville and Pitcairn.

The task force also provides grants to nonprofit organizations to aid drug prevention and treatment programs. Other programs center on self esteem, school pride and peer role modeling.

Partners in the task force include the Monroeville Police Department, Gateway School District, the National Night Out Committee, the Monroeville Chamber of Commerce, the Monroeville Department of Recreation and the Coalition for Human Dignity.

Additional Information:

To learn more

The Monroeville-Pitcairn Drug Task Force usually meets at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the Monroeville Police Station, 2700 Monroeville Blvd. For more information, email
dtf@monroeville.pa.us .

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