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New drug awareness program targets middle school students

Members of the local law enforcement and judicial community launched a program this week to address a growing problem of teens using prescription drugs.

Paul Hudson of the Drug Task Force told a group of parents at Andalusia City Hall this week that Kids Against Prescription Pills (KAPPS) is aimed at middle school students.

DTF agent David Harrell said he is aware of four instances this year in which a student abused prescription pills and wound up in the hospital.

As part of the program, DTF agents are going in to middle schools and talking about the potential problem of prescription drug addiction. They have been accompanied by a young woman who overcame an addiction to meth who bravely shares her story, encouraging parents to “stay in your children’s business.” They also hope to take sports stars with them to talk about the importance of being drug-free.

“Be aware, this problem starts inside your medicine cabinet,” Andalusia Police Chief Wilbur Williams said. “I would challenge parents to take an inventory of your own medicine cabinets.”

The DTF and others involved in the project have begun taking the awareness program into middle schools this week. So far, they’ve been to Opp Middle School and Florala Middle School. Today, they will be at Red Level and Straughn School, and tomorrow they will go to Andalusia Middle School and Pleasant Home School.

Judge Trippy McGuire and Sheriff Dennis Meeks also participated in the presentation, which has received funding through the Children’s Policy Council.

Members of the DTF are available to speak with civic and church groups about the initiative.