Hurricane High club
offers lock boxes
for prescription drugs

Drug free
any time
all the time!

Gillispie and Jordan
Putnam Board's Danielle Gillispie and Cpl. Will Jordan recognize the growing problem of prescription substance abuse.

March 18, 2010

HURRICANE -- About two hundred students at Hurricane High School, members of the new anti drug abuse 24/7 Club, officially began their "Lock 'em to Stop 'em" campaign this morning to discourage misuse of prescription drugs.

The Club will offer free lock boxes for security of the drugs.

Key or combination boxes are available at the school and through cooperating merchants for a refundable deposit.

Hurricane Principal Richard Campbell announced that Walgreens drugstore will be offering the prescription boxes, and sending the paperwork to the school. "We believe others will offer the service as well," he said.

Charleston Area Medical Center has funded the purchase of an initial supply of the security boxes.

"We think that we don't have a drug problem in Putnam County," said Cpl. Will Jordan of the Putnam Sheriff's Department, "and that is the greatest part of our problem.

Melissa Agee (sporting a 24/7 logo)
Members wear a distinctive wristband and parents permit random drug screens. Participating merchants offer discounts to members.
"During the past year, as of yesterday," said Jordan, "we had had 112 drug overdoses in this county. That's nine a month; one case every two or three days."

Beginning about two years ago, Jordan was assigned as a full-time school resource officer, working among all schools with Danielle Gillispie, the School Board's new officer for drug abuse prevention and education.

"We're out in the schools a lot," Gillispie said. "We've spread our phone numbers around, . We continue to see and hear [about] prescription drugs. That's what [students] are using. That's what their friends are using. Two out of three times we're finding things from information that has been given to us."

Melissa Agee who sponsors a 24/7 Club at St. Albans High School was present with two of her club members.

"In the fall of 2005," said Agee, "we had two students overdose on morphine that they had gotten from family members. That's when Mr. Campbell [now the Hurricane principal] started our 24/7 Club. We also did the lock box program.

"Just recently I gave a lock box to one of our students. She had a grandmother who is disabled. She had several medicines and prescription drugs, and she didn't have anyone helping her.

"Another family member was stealing the grandmother's medicine and her money.

"When the lock box was taken home, the grandmother cried. She now had control over something. Now she could lock up her medicine. She could lock up her money. And she could protect herself and encourage another family member to get help with their addiction problem."

Hurricane teacher Heather Reed mentors the new 24/7 Club.

The group is producing a video on drug abuse, she said.

"Students got on camera," said Reed.

"They talked about the drugs that they had seen in the school and in the community; at home. Experiences they have had with family members who have gone to jail, or lost family members.

"They also talked very candidly on camera about being able to get prescription drugs in school pretty much at will whenever they want. They know where to get it, who to get it from.

"Everyone of them will tell you the drugs come from the medicine cabinet at their house, their friends' house, somebody's house. They are too easy to get."

Copies of the "awareness" video will be available for distribution in a couple of weeks.

"We want to be proactive," said Principal Campbell. "We want to prevent a tragedy. Don't wait until something happens to come and get your lock box."

Additional guests at the announcement of the lock box project included members of Putnam Rotary, Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards, officers with the Hurricane Police Department, and Bill O'Dell who is a specialist in substance abuse prevention.