March Against Drugs this Saturday

Published 2:23 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The countdown has begun for the Pearl River County United sponsored March Against Drugs which will be held this Saturday the 22 at 10 a.m. beginning in the Stage parking lot and ending at Jack Read Park for a community rally.

A cross-section of community leaders with the shared vision of eliminating county drug abuse a long with Resurrection Life Ministry Volunteer Coordinator, Dawn Bechtel and Highland Hospital Administrator, Mark Stockstill, BSN, have come together as Pearl River County United Coalition (PRCU).

Stockstill says, “Substance abuse among high school seniors is a serious and growing problem. Research shows the problems that lead to substance abuse often begin in the pre and elementary school years.  Programs targeting elementary students are effective at reducing incidence in the long run by teaching healthy social, problem solving and behavioral skills. Students will use these skills throughout their school experience and into their adult life. The effect on the community is profoundly positive in that it reduces drug related crime and consumption of health care resources as well as fostering a healthy home environment for future generations.

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“Pearl River County United (PRCU) is a group of concerned citizens that, with our Lord’s direction, have decided to take a stand against drugs. We believe that we can make a difference and that difference begins with you.

his coalition has developed a unique approach to combating drug abuse in our county. Our philosophy is prevention before intervention.  PRCU has focused on programs that will build healthy life skills in vulnerable pre-school and elementary school children using a superhero theme.  We believe this will engage children and give them the tools to resist the pressure to use drugs, leading to a better life, better families and a better community.”

In a letter to the community, Stockstill says, “Until our community takes a unified stand against drugs and drug abuse, lives will continue to be shattered. … We are a group of concerned citizens that with our Lord’s direction have decided to take that stand. We believe that we can make a difference … We feel the best way to kick off this endeavor is to engage a march against drugs in much the same way the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. marched on Selma to bring about profound change.”

PRC Superintendent of Education, Alan Lumpkin, says, “We are encouraging our students and their families to march. The football players, cheerleaders and band will be marching and all of the students who show up and get a ticket at the march will be allowed to have a free dress day at school. I believe that the other schools will join us. This day is not about being Hornets, Blue Devils or the Maroon Tide. This day is about being citizens in Pearl River County and addressing this problem as one community.”

Picayune Memorial High School football coach, Dodd Lee, says, “We are going to participate in it and we should have almost full participation. We will be there.”

Pearl River County Sheriff David Allison, Picayune Police Chief Bryan Dawsey and Chief Investigator Donnie Saucier are all members of PRCU Coalition.

Sheriff Allison says, “I am real excited and I would like to thank the members who have served on the board and given their time to make this happen. I think this will be great in years to come we will reap the benefits of programs we start today. I would like to urge the community to come together and show up at this march on the 22nd and show the county drug dealers that we are not going to sit by and take it.”