Coalition hosts Covington drug-awareness forum

COVINGTON - During Red Ribbon Week, a national drug-awareness campaign, students participate in school dress-up days, art contests and other fun activities.

While these activities get students excited about certain events and could help bring awareness to illegal drugs, Newton's Drug-Free Community Coalition also wants families with children of all ages to approach drug awareness seriously.

"Drugs are here, and it's getting to younger and younger (kids)," said Tora Pierce, a juvenile probation officer in Newton County. "This is something we deal with every day."

In order to bring more awareness to the problem and try to prevent the use of drugs in the area, Newton's Drug-Free Community Coalition is holding an Evening for Awareness. The event is scheduled from 6 to

8 p.m. today at Turner Lake Recreation Center, located at 6185 Turner Lake Road in Covington.

"If you want information and resources, you need to come," said Don Chambers, chairman of the coalition. "It's open to the public ... to parents, students and anybody who wants information about drug awareness."

Guests will have a chance to browse tables and information booths set up with literature and resources from local organizations and agencies who deal with youth and/or drugs.

About 7 p.m., guest speaker Jesse Hambrick will make a presentation about current drug trends in the area and offer advice about how to prevent or limit drug activity in the community.

Hambrick, a sergeant with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office and an expert in drug and gang prevention, also will visit four Newton County public schools this week. He is scheduled to speak to students at Veterans Memorial and Indian Creek middle schools today and Clements Middle School and Alcovy High School on Thursday.

Chambers said the Evening for Awareness will be interactive and should provide a wide range of information.

He encouraged community members and families with children of all ages to attend the event.

"This affects all of our lives," Chambers said. "If you live here, it affects us all at some level, some more than others."

The coalition, which has been in existence for about two years, is planning a spring program to bring to students around the prom season and make them aware of the dangers of drinking.

For more information about the Newton's Drug-Free Community Coalition, call the Newton County Community Partnership at 770-786-0807.

More information about Hambrick is available on his Web site, www.methandgangs.org.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: If You Go

· What: Evening for Awareness, featuring guest speaker Jesse Hambrick, drug investigator

· When: 6 to 8 p.m. today

· Where: Turner Lake Recreation Center, 6185 Turner Lake Road, Covington