Pubdate: Thu, 28 Apr 2005
Source: Sun Herald (MS)
Copyright: 2005, The Sun Herald
Author: Vivian Austin


GAUTIER - A South Mississippi drug prevention program introduced in January
has earned high marks from high school officials.

Project Success is one of two drug prevention efforts introduced to high
school and college classrooms through a five-year, $300,000 grant funded by
the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division of the state Department of Mental

Project Success and Communities Mobilizing for Change pilot programs target
a popular group of hallucinogens known as club drugs, such as Ecstasy, GHB,
Ketamine and Rohypnol, and their harmful effects.

Peggy Gladfelter, substance abuse specialist at Singing River Services in
Gautier, has one group of students in Pascagoula, two in Ocean Springs and
five in Moss Point. Program topics include adolescence, drug and alcohol
prevention, family issues, coping skills and anger management.

"It's set to run six to eight weeks, but all the counselors and principals
have asked me to extend that," she said. "It's to educate and inform
students to work on coping skills and make referrals when necessary if the
students would need further alcohol and drug treatment or psychiatric

The voluntary program is offered at the district's alternative schools.

Gladfelter said students are at the schools for various reasons, and some
have never tried drugs. Anger is the major reason they are at the centers,
and Project Success teaches them how to handle adolescent stress and
pressures without turning to drugs, alcohol and bad behavior, she said.

"We've enjoyed it. It's been a great program so far," said Ocean Springs
Principal Susan Townsend.

"The students come in and they've been handling the program. We've seen some

Joe Stallworth, SRS abuse prevention coordinator, said the Jackson County
Children's Coalition has presented the program in Vancleave, and in
conjunction with Gulf Coast Mental Health, is presenting the program to
health classes at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

"They are doing a curriculum helping with college freshmen because that's a
real high-risk group for this kind of drug (Ecstasy)," he said. "The
curriculum we are using at the alternative schools is a life skills type

They hope to involve students in extracurricular activities when they return
to their regular schools, he said. 
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