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Meridian in the News

Focusing on the positive

Sep 22

Written by:
Friday, September 22, 2017  RssIcon

from The Commercial Review

The Commercial Review

With the drug problem rising in Jay County and surrounding areas, it is becoming increasingly relevant to raise awareness and educate the community about drug abuse. Meridian Health will be holding an event that focuses on this issue and encourages children and teens to make positive choices. The second annual Project SAFE (substance awareness and family education) event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 115 E Water St., Portland.

“You’re always hearing about overdose and things and it’s not just Jay County. It’s everywhere. It seems prominent in this area,” said Emily Leas, operations manager at Meridian Health and one of the members who started the event. “We wanted to put on an event in Portland that focuses on substance abuse and awareness.”

The event, which is targeted toward school-aged kids and their parents, encourages children to make positive choices during a day that includes vendors, carnival events, door prizes and speakers. Each participant will receive a bag of information, including a “drug resource guide,” when arriving at Project SAFE.

“We have created this drug resource guide and it outlines how to talk to your kids about drugs,” said Leas, “… what questions to ask your children and how to address different needs.”

Starting at 11:30 a.m., A Better Life – Brianna’s Hope will have a speaker followed by a K-9 demonstration by Portland Police Department. The last speaker of the day will be from Jay County Prevention Coalition. A card will be given to the children that vendors sign as they visit their stations. This will lead them to win door prizes but it also encourages them to visit the booths and see what groups are available. The organizations, including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H, are productive groups for kids to be involved in.

“We want to teach kids about making healthy choices,” said Leas. Sponsored by Portland Rotary Club, Jay County Prevention Coalition and Jay County Hospital, Meridian Health plans on making Project SAFE an annual event. “Historically, prevention and education will decrease and raise awareness about overdoses,” said Leas.

Meridian Health wants to provide the community with resources on drug abuse and raise awareness about the growing drug problem within the county and surrounding areas. “One of the goals (of the event) is to show people that this is what Jay County is offering,” said Leas. “We are trying to reach the needs of the community. We want to raise awareness.”

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