Along with a free pizza dinner, attendees heard from a panel of experts that included Senator Fred Akshar, Dr. Garcia Pierre-Pierre of Lourdes Sports Medicine, Local Chiropractor Dr. Doddy Crisell, Athletic Trainer Dan Sheffer, Matt Skojec of Chenango County Behavioral Health, Athletic Coach Robb Munro, James Everard of Chenango County Drug Court and Megan Vogt.
The panel covered topics including the alternative methods to recovering from an injury,
the risks and dangers of prescription drug dependence, and the link between opiates and longterm
heroin use.The program was hosted by special guest emcee, Senator Fred Akshar. "Knowledge is one of the most powerful resources to prevent prescription drug abuse in our community,” Akshar said. "It's amazing to have YES LEADers dedicate their time and efforts to organize this event to help families further understand this widespread epidemic."
The evening was organized by the 60 YES LEADers from Afton and Bainbridge-Guilford High Schools. In addition to handing out dinner and setting up the program, YES LEADers were on hand to supervise elementary students in open gym and talk to them one-on-one about the importance of making safe choices.
At the beginning of the school year, YES Safe Choices was selected from a group of national youth organizations and coalitions to train YES LEADers in “The pHARMING Effects” presentation. Developed in conjunction with the Cardinal Health Foundation, this pilot program focuses on new ways to educate middle school students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and their long term connection to heroin.
Afton and Bainbridge-Guilford’s YES LEADS groups were two of the six who volunteered
to bring this valuable training into their middle schools and will present The pHARMING Effects
in the coming weeks.
"I hope that tonight has a lasting effect on those in our community. The heroin epidemic is no longer an individual issue; it impacts the community as a whole and we need to work together to combat it," said Afton YES LEADer Reb Beltrano.
YES LEADS is a peer-to-peer substance abuse prevention program run by YES Safe Choices, co-sponsored by Senator Akshar and Lourdes Hospital. YES trains high school and middle school LEADers, like those from Afton and Bainbridge-Guilford, who are role models for younger students.
For more information, on YES Safe Choices, please visit www.YesSafeChoices.org.