Our County: GRAAB Coalition prepares for month of awareness
by D. Gary Davis
Oct 01, 2013 | 330 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
October is Substance Abuse Prevention Month in the United States. In conjunction with this event, I recently had the privilege of joining Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland in issuing a joint proclamation declaring October as “31 Days of Prevention” in our community.

The GRAAB Coalition is the sponsoring agency that will endeavor to heighten awareness about the problem of substance abuse in our community. Throughout October, GRAAB will offer effective education, recovery and support for youth and families troubled by addictive behavior.

Joining GRAAB (Going Respectively Against Addictive Behaviors) in this monthlong effort will be both city and county school systems, the Bradley County Sheriff’s Department, local churches, the YMCA, the Cleveland Bradley County Public Library and various civic and service organizations.

Substance abuse continues to be one of the most serious problems facing communities throughout the United States. Bradley County is not immune. There is a broad range of abused illegal and legal drugs, from methamphetamines and inhalants to cough medicine. Prescription drug abuse is also a major problem and growing each day.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 1 in 5 U.S. high school students has taken a prescription drug without it being prescribed by a doctor. OxyCotin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin and Xanax are the main concern to law enforcement and health officials because the majority of these abused prescription drugs come from family or a friend’s medicine cabinet.

Prescription drug abuse, just like illegal drug abuse, ruins lives and destroys families. It disrupts our health care delivery system and makes it harder for the medical community to get the drugs that are needed to the right people.

During “31 Days of Prevention,” the GRAAB Coalition and its partners are working to make sure our youth know that there are better things to do than drugs. GRAAB has compiled a list of tips for preventing illegal drug and prescription drug abuse which can be as simple as safeguarding your prescriptions at home and monitoring their quantities. Parents should also set boundaries and clear rules about all drug use for their children.

Parents, guardians and others interested in substance abuse prevention should take advantage of the many events planned by the GRAAB Coalition during the month of October. The activities include parent workshops, foster parents presentations, health fairs, as well as special guest speakers at local civic organizations. I also encourage you to connect with GRAAB through its Twitter and Facebook accounts. You will also find the group on the CADCA Connect Communities social media link or through the GRABB website at www.graabcoalition.com.

I commend the GRAAB Coalition and its partners for accepting the challenge of lowering the addictive use of a wide range of abused substances in Bradley County. This monthlong event will culminate with “Red Ribbon Week” beginning Oct. 23. During this time citizens will be encouraged to remove all old and unused medications from their medicine cabinets. Information about a central disposal site will be provided by GRAAB.

Please support the GRAAB Coalition in its effort to reinforce the message that the most precious gift we can give our children is good health. Let’s work together to give them the tools and information they need to maintain good health throughout their entire lives.

The GRAAB Coalition is another reason I say … “Bradley County is Tennessee at its best.”