VINTON — Recognizing that drug abuse is a primary source of problems within the community and beyond, Huntington-Morgan Crime Watch has partnered with a local advocacy group for an upcoming information fair to show victims and their families where and how they can get help.
The event, tentatively titled “A Dose of Prevention,” is being organized with the Gallia Citizens for Prevention and Recovery Coalition. It will be staged at Vinton Community Park on Oct. 29 from 2-4 p.m., featuring speakers, demonstrations and activities for adults and children alike.
“It’s going to be a learning thing for adults and also for kids,” said Brandi Whealdon, president of Huntington-Morgan Crime Watch. “I want it set up so that if you have family members on drugs, there will be someone there for them to talk to.”
The idea for an open event had originated from the September Crime Watch meeting, where it was initially proposed by Whealdon. Gallia County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Provens suggested that if such an activity was scheduled to address the consequences of drug usage, an expert should be brought in to explore in some detail the downside of narcotics use. Provens is also employed as a part-time village marshal by Vinton.
Whealdon was then in contact with Angela Stowers, a member of the Prevention and Recovery Coalition, who spoke to the local Crime Watch last March. The coalition will arrange speakers, demonstrations and information tables for the upcoming event while local volunteers will assist with set-up and refreshments. The Vinton Volunteer Fire Department will be approached about contributing the use of its equipment to make popcorn and hot dogs. Donations of food and drink items, ideas or anything relevant to the fair can call 740-339-9878.
“I’m glad you’re doing this,” Stowers said at an organizational session last week. “And I’m excited about partnering with you.”
Stowers is also deputy director of the Gallia-Jackson-Meigs Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services, which will be a presence at “A Dose of Prevention.” Related agencies, such as Woodland Centers and Vinton-based Wing Haven, are also expected to participate. Individuals with experience on both ends of the substance abuse issue, from those with expert knowledge and others working their way back to recovery, will be contacted to tell their stories.
Impressing upon children, from sixth grade and up, the harm that drug usage and addiction can cause to families is the primary goal of the event, Whealdon explained.
“The main thing is, it’s for the kids,” she said. “That’s what I’d like to see it as, a learning experience in a festival-type setting.”
To that end, live music will be provided by DJ Rockin’ Reggie, presentations involving the K-9 units from the sheriff’s department and discussions on making good decisions will be spread over the length of the event.
Another meeting to plan for “A Dose of Prevention” will be Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. in Vinton Village Hall.
Kevin Kelly, who was affiliated with Ohio Valley Publishing for 21 years, resides in Vinton, Ohio.