Drug awareness program set for Oct. 5
By Holly Neumann
The Manawa School District has partnered with several local businesses to bring the group Rise Together to the community.
The group’s primary focus is preventing substance use and abuse by youth.
Trisha Taber, school district nurse, was instrumental in bringing the group to Manawa.
“I started networking with Rise Together when they presented at the Heroin Summit in November 2014,” Taber said.
Since that date, Dan Wolfgram, middle/high school principal, and Debra Weisert, high school guidance counselor, have joined Taber with their support.
“I believe it is important for the Rise Together presentation to come to Manawa, because we are fooling ourselves if we think the problem doesn’t exist in our community,” said Wolfgram. “We see families on a regular basis that deal with poor mental and physical health, low income and addiction to prescription and illegal drugs.”
Wolfgram said that all one has to do is look at the regional and local newspapers as a testament to the problem.
“Dr. Oppor and the Board of Education are also fully in support of this initiative as it directly responds to several of the district needs identified in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) taken by the students in grades 6-12,” Taber said.
She noted that upon review of the 2013 YRBS data, it was relevant that there was in an increase in the area of alcohol and substance abuse among Manawa students.
“The district felt strongly that we needed to bring something to our students to raise awareness of the dangers associated with these risky behaviors, so that students can not only make better choices today, but well into their futures,” she said.
Waupaca County Sheriff Brad Hardel agrees that education is key.
“Education is a huge part of fighting drugs,” he said. “The more educated people are of the effects and addictiveness of heroine the better chance we have of keeping people from taking the drug. 72 percent of first time users try it again.”
Hardel added that heroine is a problem, not only in Waupaca County, but statewide.
“It has been one of the fastest growing drugs recently,” he said. “We still see other drugs, like cocaine, meth and marijuana, but not as much since heroine arrived.”
The district hope is that students take Rise Together’s message seriously and will reach out to school personnel, their families and the community before it’s too late.
“Our hope is that we can reach at least one student or community member that is in need of breaking free from a drug addictive lifestyle,” said Wolfgram. “It is a message of hope and inspiration. It helps to provide the security to come forward and ask for help. If we save one life, it was well worth the effort.”
The community presentation will take place at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, at Little Wolf High School.
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and mental health professionals, school counselors and a registered nurse will be on hand with free information and resources for the public to take.
The Manawa School District is still looking for donations for this cause.
“While we are just shy of reaching our fundraising goal through the generosity of the Manawa area businesses, we are still accepting donations,” said Taber. “Any additional funds will be put towards future programs and educational materials for our students.”
Donations can be mailed to: Manawa School District, ATTN: Katie Burr, Business Office, 800 Beech St., Manawa, WI 54949.