POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Prevention Coalition (MCPC) members recently met discussing the organization’s upcoming activities.
Greg Fowler, executive director of the Mason County Family Resource Network (FRN), shared Synar visits for this year around the county will be happening soon. Synar is a program reducing youth access to tobacco through retail sources.
Fowler has four establishments he is planning on visiting. Prior to the actual Synar visits, the merchants will be visited and will be educated about not selling certain items, such as alcohol and tobacco products, to underage youth and to always ask for I.D. from their costumers before selling these certain items. Fowler will be releasing more information for the public about the merchant education and Synar visits soon.
The MCPC members discussed ideas for upcoming events such as for town hall and teen institute. John Machir, housing director of the Mason County Homeless Shelter and Simms Housing, suggested addressing the correlation of alcohol and substance abuse with homelessness. The MCPC members also discussed holding a “Hidden in Plain Sight” event or addressing the issue of used needles around the community and how to educate both adults and children about what to do when they come upon a used needle.
In other business, Fowler reported a training on juuling/vaping was recently held at Wahama Junior/Senior High School for the seventh-12th grade students. The students were broken up into two groups, seventh-ninth graders and 10th-12th graders. Fowler shared the students conducted themselves great by being very respectful and listening the entire time through the presentation. He would like to hold a similar event with some changes for all three high schools next school year.
Bree Ramey, from the Workforce West Virginia Career Center, inquired about the Mason County School System’s handbook in regards to tobacco products as some students sent to Teen Court have non-tobacco products resembling tobacco products such as vapes and chewing tobacco. However, it is not specified in the handbook about the punishment, if any at all, for youth who have items resembling tobacco products that do not contain tobacco.
Fowler reported at the regional prevention meeting a SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) retreat for Region 5 is being planned and will be held at Camp Dawson.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.