.24-7 guests
Chatting with Rotarian Scott Williamson are Lila Mangus (left), president of Hurricane High's 24-7 Club, and club faculty sponsor Heather Reed.
Drug free any time, all the time!

February 9, 2010

The drug problem in Putnam is one of perception. Simply put, people don't know there is a problem, Lila Mangus, a Hurricane High student, told Putnam Rotarians today.

But Mangus and some like-minded friends decided to do something about it. Many school groups tend toward the social side and performance -- ski clubs, athletics, show choirs.

Lila Mangus and her group wanted to make a better community. They wanted to tackle a real problem that threatened homes and lives.

The idea came from another school in another county: They had failed to recognize a problem there, too. Then one sad day two students were found in the parking lot dead from drug overdoses.

Principal Dick Campbell wanted to head off a similar tragedy at Hurricane High, and he recruited biology teacher Heather Reed to sponsor a new club at the school.

And that was the start of the Twenty-Four/Seven Club: "Drug free! Any time! All the time!"

Reed says that 24-7 students encourage the school community to make positive choices. "They wear distinctive T-shirts and wristbands with pride, and welcome the chance to say that they are drug free!" she said.

Students earn community service credit at school (a Putnam graduation requirement) by taking part in drug-awareness activities.

Within the school, discounts are offered for dance admissions and athletic events.

Area business are encouraged offer discounts to students who display the 24-7 wristband. Members attend special movie nights. Rotarian Scott Williamson, Parks Board Director, wants to offer discounts for recreational activities such as ice skating and swimming.

A second 24-7 group is already forming at Hurricane Middle School.

Sponsor Reed says the high school group will promote community awareness with displays and recognition of local businesses which support their program.

A major problem is abuse of prescription drugs: The 24-7 group wants to give out "lock boxes" for medications. The med boxes are fitted with combination or key locks, and offered free throughout the community with a nominal deposit. The boxes have been ordered through a donation from the Charleston Area Medical Center.

The 24-7 group invites membership, but there are certain requirements: Members are expected to work for a better quality of life in the school and community. Oh, yes! And there is one other detail: All members must sign up for a free program of random drug screening.

"Drug free any time, all the time," said Lila Mangus. "At Hurricane High School, we mean it!"

Sponsor Heather Reed (2nd from left) joins 24-7 club officers (2008-09) in front of Hurricane High.From left to right are Lila Mangus (Vice-President), Reed, Jeremy Shultz (President) and Noah Allen Treasurer).

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