Granite State News – Editorial August 9, 2018
Editor’s Note: The following guest commentary was submitted for publication by Team Wolfeboro, a faith-based partnership committed to creating a drug-free community.
We Can Stop Drug Addiction!
Last month, Team Wolfeboro wrote about how Carroll County Coalition for Public Health (C3PH) – Prevention recommends that the Six Sectors of a Town need to be involved. The Six Sectors are: Town Government, Education, Public Safety, Health Services, Businesses, and Community. In Wolfeboro, these six sectors are involved by providing many resources. But then why is there a drug problem? Let’s address the question last. First, let’s review the many assets.
Wolfeboro has many assets available to everyone, especially our youth. The Town Government operates Abernaki Ski Area, Pop Whalen Ice Arena, three public beaches, five parks, one skate Park, and more to bring year round enjoyment. Governor Wentworth Regional School District (GWRSD), in addition to educating our children has numerous sports teams, clubs, and activities to help our children and youth develop skills and talents. Also, GWRSD has dedicated counselors and teachers addressing drug and alcohol prevention. The Wolfeboro Public Safety (Police, Fire, Emergency Services) are trained in crisis intervention and saving lives. Health Services (e.g. Huggins Hospital, Northern Human Services, numerous gyms and wellness centers) are helping youth and adults toward healthy individuals and healthy families. Wolfeboro businesses and the Wolfeboro Area Chamber of Commerce support our youth in many ways. The businesses sponsor many sports teams and activities as well as providing many youth their first job, teaching them that there are benefits to their labor. Many businesses have joined with Team Wolfeboro as “Partners for a Drug Free Community” by displaying the Team Wolfeboro decal on their store windows. Please thank them. Finally, there is the Community sector which comprises not only the residents of the community, but the many churches, civic organizations, youth groups, and more. “The Nick” is one more place that makes Wolfeboro unique with its athletic fields, pavilion, and playground to bring people together.
So what is missing? With all these resources, could there be anything missing? There may be three ingredients missing. First is Perspective. Adolescent drug use is a low priority issue in our society. Drugs and alcohol are often accepted as a “rite of passage” in the teen years. Few blink an eye, if a teen states that he has tried marijuana. But what if you were told that 20% of the 2011 Freshmen class at Kingswood Regional High School tried marijuana before age 13. And now nationally, children as young as 8 and 10 years old are experimenting with drugs. The danger of marijuana for anyone under 25 is that this drug actually re-wires the brain; especially with today’s higher levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. The re-wiring often breaks the connection between cause and effect, so the youth may be unable to process information, make judgments, control impulses, or foresee consequences. In addition, it decreases motivation and drive. Marijuana is the “gateway drug” because it knocks down the barriers to drug use and opens the door to addiction. No one would allow their child to play high school football without a helmet. We know better. We have learned about the dangers of brain injuries in football. Yet, the number of youth harmed by marijuana and other drugs is significantly larger.
Second is a renewed Commitment to Prevention. The professionals identify four levels of drug use: Experimentation, Use, Abuse, and Addiction. Prevention stops Experimentation and eliminates Addiction. Prevention is learning to say “no” repeatedly with conviction, knowing that no good comes from drug use. Just as an ounce of Prevention is worth a pound of Cure, so every dollar spent on Prevention saves $18 on Treatment and Recovery.
Third is a strong Partnership and Coordination. Each of the six sectors has a different purpose. Town Government is to provide public services; GWRSD is education; Public Safety is to save lives and maintain order, Health Services is to treat illnesses and diseases; business is to be profitable; and Community adds enjoyment to life. Team Wolfeboro was formed to work with all six sectors. To offer assistance as well as to bring them together to help each other with only one objective – “A Drug Free Community”. By combining resources and working together, there will be an exceptional synergy; consequently, the drug problem will be solved faster and with less money. Join with Team Wolfeboro. With a new Perspective, renewed Commitment, strong Partnerships and Coordination, Drug Prevention can overcome Drug Addiction!
A 2nd Annual Drug Forum – Parents Night will be held Thursday Aug 23rd 7PM at Wolfeboro Bible Church, 533 Center Street. The topic will be Drug Prevention. The meeting is open to all (parents, grandparents, adults, teens, teachers and students. Come, learn and join in the discussion. For more information and to stay updated, sign up for our newsletter at www.TeamWolfeboro.org, email us at TeamWolfeboro@gmail.com or visit our facebook page.