Pubdate: Thu, 19 Aug 2004
Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA)
Copyright: 2004 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.
Author: Karen Zapf
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


Monroeville is hoping for a fresh approach at its second town hall
meeting next week focusing on substance abuse.

Mayor Jim Lomeo said because the issue of substance abuse has been
debated so extensively, he asked the speakers to come with one new
idea to approach the prevention issue.

"It's not an easy thing to solve," Lomeo said. "But if we can save one
person, the effort is worth it."

Lomeo, in conjunction with the Coalition for Human Dignity, is
conducting a town hall meeting, "Working Together in an Effort to
Combat Substance Abuse in Children and Young Adults," at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday at the Monroeville Municipal Building, 2700 Monroeville Blvd.
A similar session was held last year.

The meeting will air live on Monroeville Cable Channel 15.

Various speakers will address the meeting and several members of
Monroeville's Youth Advisory Board will take part as a teen reaction
panel. The young people will offer their reaction to the talks,
municipal officials said.

Lori Spisak, Coalition program manager, said speakers will include
Gateway Middle School Principal Andrew Leopold talking about the
school district's approach to substance abuse.

Also, James C. Allen of the Allegheny County Bureau of Drug and
Alcohol Services will outline the county's approach to substance abuse
issues, Spisak said. Dr. Chaudhary Safar, psychiatrist and executive
director of the Coalition, will also speak.

"It's such a huge issue," Spisak said.

Neighboring Plum School District is also acting to combat substance
abuse among young people.

The district this fall is instituting a voluntary and random drug
testing program in both Oblock Junior High and Plum Senior High schools.

Plum Mayor John Schmeck said he is planning a second drug symposium
this fall. The borough sponsored one a couple years ago.

Lisa Marie, 15, who this fall will be a sophomore at Gateway Senior
High School, said a program to educate youngsters on the dangers of
drugs and alcohol should be implemented at the middle school so they
can make an "educated decision" when they get to the high school.

"You have DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) in sixth grade,"
Marie said. "And you have health class in seventh grade. But that's
not enough to expose kids to the bad aspects of drugs and alcohol."
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin