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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of West Virginia

Monday, February 11, 2013

Greater Harrison Task Force Takes The Lead On Drug Education In North Central West Virginia

1125 Chapline Street, Federal Building, Suite 3000 ● Wheeling, WV 26003
(304) 234-0100 ● Contact: Chris Zumpetta-Parr, Public Affairs Specialist

School Officials & Law Enforcement Join Forces to Fight Addiction, Overdoses

CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Law enforcement leaders and local school administrators announced a new drug education and outreach program for North Central West Virginia on Thursday known as Project FUTURE: The Right Prescription for West Virginia.

Board members from the Greater Harrison County Drug & Violent Crimes Task Force (hereinafter “Task Force”) were joined today by Harrison County School Officials in making the announcement. According to United States Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld, II, Project Future is a comprehensive strategy designed to educate parents and children about the dangers of prescribed medicine, synthetic drugs, and other illegal drugs that are plaguing communities in West Virginia.

“The goal of Project Future is for every child to live a life free from substance abuse, and we plan to achieve that goal by the aggressive enforcement of drug trafficking laws as well as by educating our youth about the dangers of drugs,” said Ihlenfeld.

Dr. Gregory Moore, Assistant Superintendent of Harrison County Schools stated: "Prescription drug abuse is the leading type of drug abuse in the state of West Virginia. Project Future will supplement the educational programs Harrison County Schools already has in place that focus on prescription and illegal drugs in order to give our school system a comprehensive approach to teach children about the dangers of drug abuse. Since prescription drugs come from a doctor, people tend to believe that they are safe. But unless those drugs have been prescribed to you -- nothing could be further from the truth."

“The Task Force has a responsibility to do more than just arrest, indict, and lock people up,” said Chief John Walker, Bridgeport, WV, Police Chief and Chairperson of the Task Force Board. “We have a duty to inform the young people of Harrison County that the choices they make on a Friday or Saturday night at a party could affect them for the rest of their lives, or could even end their lives.”

Over the next year members of the Task Force Board will visit schools in North Central West Virginia and they’ll be joined by special guest speakers with real-life experience in dealing with addiction. In addition, community awareness meetings will be held in the evenings so that parents can be fully informed and made aware of warning signs that their children may be using drugs.

The Project Future events that have already been scheduled for the area include:

February 21, 2013
9:30 A.M. - Robert C. Byrd High School (11th & 12th grades)
1:30 P.M. - Robert C. Byrd High School (9th & 10th grades)
6:00 p.m. – Community Awareness Meeting (at Robert C. Byrd High School)

February 22, 2013
9:00 A.M. - Bridgeport Middle School (7th & 8th grades)
10:30 A.M. – Washington Irving Middle School (8th grade)
1:45 P.M. – Liberty High School (9th & 10th grades)

March 27, 2013
Calhoun County Middle-High School (7th thru 12th grades) Gilmer County High School (7th thru 12th grades)

April 9, 2013
Cameron High School (7th thru 12th grades)

April 30, 2013
Tucker County High School (9th thru 12th grades)

May 1, 2013
Liberty High School (11th & 12th grades)
Fairmont Senior High School (9th thru 12th grades)

The dates of additional events in Marion, Monongalia, Mineral and Hampshire Counties are in the process of being finalized and will be announced in the near future.

The Project Future program has partnered with United States Senator Jay Rockefeller, who has been a leader in Congress in tackling the issues related to prescription drug abuse. Drug Free Clubs of America is also a partner with the initiative.

U.S. Attorney Ihlenfeld said that he encourages other schools and community groups that are interested in hosting a Project Future event to contact his office at 304-234-0100.

Updated January 7, 2015