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Board of Education seeks volunteers for task force

January 02, 2002

Board of Education seeks volunteers for task force



By TARA REILLY
tarar@herald-mail.com


In an attempt to curb drug use among adolescents, the Washington County Board of Education is looking for volunteers to serve on a new drug abuse prevention committee.

Carol Mowen, the board's public information officer, said Monday the School Board hopes to find people of all ages and backgrounds from all over the county to serve on the Alcohol and Drug Task Force. That would include community members, addictions counselors and those in the mental health profession, she said.

"A good task force is one that is a cross-section of the community," Mowen said.

The task force, created by Interim Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan, will hold most of its meetings in January but a few meetings may be held in February. Mowen said the group will study the drug and alcohol material that's already in the school system's curriculum and make suggestions on what programs might be added or adjusted.

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"We want to evaluate them for their effectiveness," Morgan said Monday.

The task force was created in response to the 2001 Maryland Adolescent Survey, which indicated that a higher percentage of Washington County public school sophomores and seniors has used Ecstasy, marijuana, crack, cocaine and LSD than their peers across the state.

"If our drug use is going up instead of down ... I think it behooves us to make sure we have effective programs in place," Morgan said. "We can't afford to lose any kids in our community to drugs. It's not only a loss to the school system, it's a loss for the kids themselves and a loss to the community."

She said the task force will research drug programs across the country and try to determine which ones might be successful in Washington County.

The School Board will work with local agencies, including the Washington County Health Department and the Washington County Community Partnership for Children and Families, she said.

To volunteer for the task force or for more information, contact Bonnie Forsyth, coordinator of safe and drug free schools, at 301-766-2989.

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