Tuesday, November 14, 2000

Anti-drug effort begins


Middletown coalition aims to protect teen-agers

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        MIDDLETOWN — This city could become Greater Cincinnati's 18th community to form a group dedicated to keeping its youth drug-free.

        An organizational meeting for a Coalition for a Drug Free Middletown is scheduled for 7 p.m., today in the city commission chambers, One Donham Plaza.

        Rhonda Ramsey-Molina, director of the Coalition for a Drug Free Greater Cincinnati, will speak with parents, elected officials, school representatives, business leaders and others about forming a Middletown coalition.

        “The first thing to do is understand the issue on the local level,” said Ms. Ramsey-Molina. "You have to examine what is (Middletown's) issue. What we're looking for are those unwritten messages that say it's OK to use, even if our words say it isn't.”

        A spring survey of 47,256 Greater Cincinnati students in grades 7-12 — more than half the students of that age in the region — showed that alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana are the drugs of choice, Ms. Ramsey-Molina said.

        Half of seniors and 11 percent of seventh-graders said they were regular users of alcohol; 36 percent of seniors and 9 percent of sev enth-graders smoke cigarettes; and 24 percent of seniors and 6 percent of seventh-graders use marijuana, according to survey results.

        “It takes a community to create a safe and drug free environment for everyone,” Ms. Ingram said. “I have a child who's 12 and a child who's a college freshman and I want that world (safe and drug free) for my children as well as the other children here.”

        Ms. Ingram's advisory board contacted the Greater Cincinnati coalition about forming a Middletown coalition. Representatives from the schools, the county prosecutor's office, police and community groups are expected at today's meeting.

        “The schools approached us but it's the community we appeal to,” said Ms. Ramsey-Molina said. “We've seen huge reductions (in drug, alcohol and cigarette use) when parents talk to kids and when parents set clear and consistent rules.”

       



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