Harrison County Introduces New Initiative to Prevent Drug Abuse - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Harrison County Introduces New Initiative to Prevent Drug Abuse

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"On The Move!” is Operation UNITE’s newest drug education and prevention initiative. The five-component program is provided free to schools targeting students in 7th and 10th grades.

"What Operation UNITE has done is so very unique, is we are the only organization in the United States that has successfully brought together law enforcement, treatment and education all to the table working together," said Nancy Hale, Operation UNITE president.   

The program, as a whole, is designed to educate children about the dangers of making bad choices from using alcohol or other drugs.

Dan Smoot, prevention director said, "What we see are the kids just absorb it. They know a lot about drugs but there is a lot of stuff they are told about drugs that just aren't true."

One of the components of the program is the simulated impaired driving experience, where students experience first hand the dangers of driving under the influence. 

The exercise utilizes a battery-powered go-kart, controlled by a UNITE staff member, who simulates the effects of distraction and impairment from alcohol or drugs.

"We're all working together, we finally realize it's going to take all of us. We have seen in the last three years the decrease in overdose deaths."

Attorney General William Ihlenfled said students anonymously answer questions electronically, providing useful insight.

"Children in Harrison County are answering these questions telling us what they think, what the believe, what they are seeing in their neighborhoods, in their schools and in their county. So we can then take that data, analyze it and determine if we are doing everything we need to do," said Ihlenfled. 

Last year alone, "On The Move!” has served more than 6,000 students at 72 schools in 18 counties.

"We want to emphasize with them that West Virginians are proud, West Virginians are hardworking and West Virginians are resilient," said Jo Anne McNemar, Partnerships for Success coordinator.  

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