CCCPC calling all pastors to join drug fight

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Covington County Children’s Policy Council Coalition is teaming up with local pastors in order to help fight youth drug use.

CCCPCC Director Susan Short said the council is inviting local pastors to the annual Religious Leaders Program, which will be held Thurs., Nov. 4, at 6 p.m. at the PowerSouth board room.

Short said that District Judge Frank “Trippy McGuire will speak, along with superintendents from Andalusia City Schools, Covington County Schools and Opp City Schools.

The superintendents will share the results of their respective Pride survey, which is given to students in grades six through 12 and asks questions about alcohol and drug usage among other things.

Short said the goal of the program is to give the pastors the results and encourage them to incorporate ways to reach the parents and children in their faith-based lessons.

“There are a lot of programs that our churches offer for our kids,” she said. “The youth can turn to their pastor or youth minister to help them with peer pressure, their relationships and drugs and alcohol.

“It’s important for them to have the facts,” she said. “Then, they can add in their moral and spiritual values.”

Short said the overall goal is the prevent substance abuse.

“Our kids today face many challenges,” she said. “For some people, (drug use) starts in the sixth grade.”

Short said that she believes that some of these can be prevented through drug prevention programs.

“Research shows that youth who participate in religious programming on a regular basis are less likely to use drugs,” she said. “Teen who were surveyed said that religion does help them deal with drugs and alcohol.”

Short said that every child is at risk for using drugs.

“Parents are the first teachers about drugs and alcohol,” she said. “And it needs to be done before they get to middle school, that’s when the experimentation starts. You really want to reach them before that takes place. You can’t wait until they are in high school, that’s being naïve, and we need to be realistic.”

Short said children really do listen to their parents, and they do care what their parents think.

“Parents need to make sure their rules are clear,” she said. “It seems to make the biggest difference in the kids.”

Pastors or youth ministers who haven’t already signed up should do so by Tues., Nov. 2.

David’s Catfish is catering the event, with a menu that includes catfish, slaw, cheese grits, hushpuppies and tea.

Cost is $6.50 per person.