Wednesday, August 9, 2006

New coalition working to halt county?s drug use

Express Staff Writer

The recently formed Community Drug Coalition is taking action to confront Blaine County drug use. The coalition met Monday, Aug. 7, to discuss its first major outreach effort in the Wood River Valley.

"We have to build the capacity of our community, help build their tools, to prevent drug and alcohol abuse," said Erin Pfaeffle, coalition member and manager of the St. Luke's Center for Community Health.

The coalition will partner with St. Luke's Center for Community Health to present an annual fall conference, "Creating a Healthy Community," Sept. 30 at the Community Campus in Hailey.

The free conference features Stephen Covey, best-selling author of the "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." Covey will speak about "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families" at the Hailey event.

The event is an annual affair for the Center for Community Health and the first major outreach effort by the new drug coalition.

"One of the impetus of having us all together is drug and alcohol prevention," Pfaeffle said.

The Community Drug Coalition formed in March 2006 in response to the apparently rising use of methamphetamine among Blaine County students. Meth is a highly addictive stimulant and physically annihilating drug.

"We put out a call to all those we thought would be able to help with the problem; from that it snowballed," said Tom Bailey, coalition facilitator and Hailey Elementary School principal. The coalition includes counselors, parents, nonprofit organizations, law enforcement agencies, and the Blaine County School District, who meet once a month to address drug use.

"It is anybody that wants to work toward a safer drug free community," Bailey said.

Those interested in joining the coalition can contact Bailey at 788-3091.

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