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Prevention Council Garners National Recognition

A recent meeting of the Roanoke County Prevention Council.

The Roanoke County Prevention Council is poised to announce a major national award to be received from CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America). The Prevention Council, which strives to curb abusive behaviors among local youths with a variety of programs, will announce CADCA’s “Got Outcomes” Coalition of Excellence Award,” shortly before it is honored by the Roanoke County School Board this Thursday (Nov. 11) night.

CADCA will hand out the awards officially during a February event in Washington D.C. The organization singled out the Council’s efforts to delay the onset of alcohol use by teenagers, in part by reducing their access to it and by changing community norms.

“It’s a big national award,” said Nancy Hans, a former educator who is now the Council Coordinator for the Prevention Council of Roanoke County. Since the program is federally funded, awards honoring its effectiveness should help secure future grants, according to Hans. Roanoke County School Superintendent Lorraine Lange, Judge Phil Trompeter and Roanoke County assistant police chief Donna Furrow will be on hand for the award announcement as well.

The Prevention Council, which works in county high schools and middle schools, won in the “Coalition in Focus” category, which highlights groups that demonstrate successful implementation of successful strategies. The Prevention Council works with students, educators and parents, to reduce underage drinking and drug use, and to eliminate behaviors like bullying.

Periodic surveys given to Roanoke County students gauge whether or not programs like those offered by the Prevention Council – student led activities, parenting classes, guest speakers, etc. are making an impact. “Our [target] numbers are down 10-12% since 2002,” said Hans.

The marathon runner and triathlete, also the mother of four, warns about a new threat to young people, a drink that combines high alcohol content with caffeine. “Four Loko” has been described as liquid cocaine and recently sent nine college students in Washington State to the hospital. Hans would like to see Four Loko outlawed; politicians in states like New York are considering that. “A new threat,” Hans calls it.

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