Pubdate: Fri, 11 Feb 2011
Source: Goldstream Gazette (Victoria, CN BC)
Copyright: 2011 Black Press
Author: Edward Hill
Bookmark: (Drug Education)


The West Shore RCMP is looking for motivated volunteers to help keep 
young people on the right track and away from substance abuse.

The detachment is rolling out its Community Prevention Education 
Continuum program (CPEC), which involves community members talking to 
high school students about making wise choices.

"We're looking for great people willing to donate a bit of time," 
said RCMP Cpl. Scott Hilderley, the CPEC program co-ordinator. "If we 
get 50 people, we'll find 50 ways for people to help."

Hilderley stressed that almost anyone from any walk of life can help 
- -- a banker could talk to kids about economics and budgeting, a 
fitness store owner could talk about the benefits of exercise and 
health. It's not about endlessly hammering on the anti-drug and 
alcohol message, he said, but focusing on healthy decision-making, 
which reduces risky behaviour among teens.

"In high school kids are presented with peer pressure. It's a 
struggle to resist," Hilderley said. "But instead of focusing on what 
is negative, we're focusing on what is positive. It's all geared to 
maximize the potential of of youth. It's about developing healthy communities."

The CPEC program is also meant as a continuation the long-running 
DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program offered to elementary 
students throughout the province. That consistent anti-drug messaging 
can become erratic when students enter middle and high school, Hilderley said.

RCMP rolled out CPEC in the East Kootenay in 2005, and saw a 
measurable decrease in drug and alcohol abuse among teens, according 
to surveys. West Shore detachment commander Insp. Mark Fisher, who 
worked in the area at the time, said the program helped develop 
better communication between officers and community organizations.

"We've seen it work elsewhere in the country," Fisher said. "In the 
Kootenays, it was a big help for the detachment to get engaged with 
all age groups."

Some youth might also respond better to anti-drug messaging delivered 
by people other than police officers. Segments of youth only interact 
with police in negative way, Hilderley noted, such as when a parent 
gets arrested.

"Kids might not be able to connect with police, but they might 
connect with a hockey player or a business man," Fisher said.

CPEC is volunteer based and is not looking for monetary donations. 
People not comfortable with public speaking can also help with the program.

People interested in participating with the CPEC program or want to 
find out more can contact Hilderley at 250-380-6295 or  ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom