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It's time to take a stand, Perry County. The underage drinking cases, driving-while-intoxicated arrests and overall drug problems need to end.
Each week, The News goes to the county courthouse and sorts through the criminal, civil and small-claims files to compile our records section. And each week the same names keep popping up, often for the same offense, and even worse, the ages keep getting younger and younger.
Time and time again, people who have either possessed, made or sold methamphetamine, marijuana or other drugs are going through the court system and then released just to have them do it again. In some weeks, The News picks up more than one file on the same person in the same week.
We always know when a party has been broken up, especially around graduation time, because that's when we see the bulk of underage-drinking charges. Yes, we've all made mistakes. There is not one person who can say honestly that they never have but if we as a county don't take a stand and educate our children and make them aware of all the consequences of drinking before they are of legal age and taking drugs, we've let them down.
It's not fair to place blame on just the community because we can't make decisions for people. It is a person's responsibility and choice to take what they know about the harm alcohol and drugs can do to themselves, family and community.
With this information, a person can either lead a drug-free lifestyle and abide by laws dealing with alcohol or they can toss all that information out the window and hurt everyone they know and love.
Perry Central Community School is already fighting alcohol and drug problem. Students who drive to school or are part of any extracurricular activities must submit to random drug and alcohol screening. And thanks to an alcohol-abuse-prevention grant students will participate in several programs intended to educate them on alcohol-related problems and the social and legal consequences of underage drinking.
The Leadership Perry County Class of 2008 will host a series of methamphetamine forums focusing on how drugs affect children, more specifically the lack of foster parents in Perry County to take care of children after their caregivers have been jailed because of drugs.
The first meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at Perry Central's cafetorium. The public is encouraged to participate.
These are just two examples of community organizations coming up with ways to help reduce the problems we have in our area. We encourage everyone, the schools, law enforcement officers, parents and others to make sure our students know all they need to know in order to stay out of our court system.
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