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The Wilson County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board has donated $15,368 to area schools and the county 4-H program to support substance abuse prevention.
“We have some very special children in Wilson County,” said board Chairman Paul Farris. “We are trying to make children aware of not drinking alcohol under 21. We care about our children here in Wilson County.”
According to Farris, who is also president of the North Carolina Association of ABC Boards, recipients are able to use the funds in any manner they deem appropriate.
“We let the schools pick the program that they want and that they think is best for their school,” Farris said.
According to Larry Etheridge, general manager of the Wilson County ABC Board, Wilson County Schools received $7,168 for use in 13 schools, Wilson County 4-H received $6,700 and Greenfield School received $1,500.
Sarah Bradley, a guidance counselor at Greenfield, said the grant money would be used in part for an all-day, off-campus retreat for eighth-through-12th graders at the Surge Center in Wilson. The retreat will focus on substance abuse prevention.
“We really believe that our community has some struggles with substance abuse and we want our kids to have all the information to out there to prevent them from ever developing a problem in a first place.,” Bradley said.
The funds will also fund a two-hour presentation on opioids from the Raleigh-based Poe Center for Health and Education at Greenfield School.
“Students will learn the types and effects of opioids, prescription medicine and heroin on the brain and body, how opioids affect brain chemistry, safe use of prescription medication, how to recognize an emergency and intervene on behalf of their peers as well as some stress management techniques,” Bradley said. “We are real excited to do this for our students.”
“We just believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Bradley said.
Leon Johnson of Vick Elementary said the school received $1,000 of the funds to produce some seminars to provide information to children and staff members in regard to alcohol prevention and recovery and all forms of substance abuse.
“These kids need to understand the dangers of alcoholism and substance abuse so they don’t get caught up later in life with experiences or exposure to that sort of thing,” Johnson said. “Education is a very important component to being aware of what not to do when they are exposed to that sort of thing.”
According to Wilson County 4-H and youth development agent Jessica Manning of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension office in Wilson County, the 4-H funds were used for a healthy living program serving 5-18-year-olds with an emphasis on alcohol and substance abuse prevention.