Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

 

Dawn Fossand

Sara Hoover from the Panhandle Public Health District leads discussion about the prevention of drug use and abuse in Kimball County. Community leaders met at the Kimball Public Library fpr the purpose and will continue meeting throughout the year.

Kimball leaders, focused on substance abuse prevention, met on Tuesday, Sept. 13 to devise a 3-5 year vision for prevention efforts in Kimball County.

The group's most recent meeting saw 18 members of the community come together as the Kimball Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, an increase in numbers since the initiative first began in April, 2016.

Volunteers include leaders from Kimball Public Schools, Kimball Police Department, as well as County Attorney Dave Wilson and Commissioner Daria Anderson-Faden as well as Sara Hoover from the Panhandle Public Health District and Region 1 Prevention Specialist Brenda McDonald, who is a technical assistant and trainer for the substance abuse coalitions throughout the Panhandle.

"In the earliest stages of this process I believe there has been great progress," said Kimball Public Schools Superintendent Marshall Lewis. "The hope is that we are able to share information effectively in order to educate our youth of the short and long term risks of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and other substances."

"The data we have reviewed shows that the Kimball community has a greater proportion of use than the rest of the Panhandle and state of Nebraska," Lewis added. "The increased availability of some of these items and the low perception of risk makes this undertaking even more valuable for the safety of our students and community. This is a topic that affects the community as a whole."

Facilitated by Hoover, the most recent meeting served as one of two meetings to be held around planning efforts for substance use and abuse prevention in Kimball County. Hoover led the meeting by presenting a consensus workshop to develop a vision for Kimball Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.

"This was a very successful meeting and much was accomplished," said McDonald. "The local coalition will work to create ideal conditions to reduce substance use and abuse, and make Kimball County a place for all to feel safe, valued, and engaged."

The group will reconvene on Tuesday, Oct. 18, to continue the planning process, as well as identify victories for the coming year, key actions and a timeframe for completing those actions to accomplish those victories.

"I am enthusiastic about being a part of a committee where Kimball's future is the focus," said Kimball Public Schools Special Services Director Jamie Soper. "We are diving into our community's dynamics and brainstorming ideas to make it the best it can be. I look forward to the upcoming meeting where we will put our words into actions for the betterment of Kimball."

Anyone interested in becoming a part of this very important county coalition is invited to do so at the next meeting or by contacting Brenda McDonald, by phone at 308-762-2545 or 308-760-8158 or via email at bmcdonald@region1bhs.net.

 

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