By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
BELMONT — For the past three years, Shaker Regional School District Superintendent Maria Dreyer has written letters to orthopedic doctors in Gilford and Concord requesting they reduce the number of pain killers they issue to students who are injured during athletics.
She said nobody in particular has asked her to do this but she took it upon herself because of her fears of opioid dependence in young people. She didn't say if she got any replies but said, as an educator, she felt it was her responsibility to let them know her position.
At Tuesday's School Board meeting, Dreyer was joined by at least two parents and members of the Belmont/Canterbury community who have joined in her anti-drug and alcohol message by creating independent but somewhat overlapping organizations of their own.
Donna Iacopucci is the president of the PTO at Belmont High School and her group has formed "It Takes A Village." She said they have joined sessions at Stand Up Laconia and on April 21 they have a special mini-dinner beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Belmont High School to attract as many community members as they can to join them.
Iacopucci said Dreyer has made a few donations for some gift cards for a raffle and said the 50-minute movie "The Anonymous People," which is a feature film documenting the 23 million Americans who are recovering from substance abuse, will be shown after dinner. After the showing, there will be a panel discussion with other members of the community.
Darcy Ess, also a parent, is the only "lay" representative to a recently formed a drug and alcohol task force in Belmont that includes Police Chief Mark Lewandoski, Welfare Director Donna Cilley, Dreyer and other members of the anti-drug community.
Ess told the School Board that while she knows their coalition needs a catchy name, she said they are meeting in the morning of April 21 at the SAU offices in Belmont at 10 a.m.
Working together, they are all trying to combat the effects of drugs in the Belmont/Canterbury communities.
Dreyer, who recently received this year's results from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey taken earlier in the year by 82 percent of the Belmont High School student body, said the results were alarming.
She said she if particularly concerned with heroin and opioid and said administrators are starting to see some evidence in Belmont High of increased usage.
The results show that 16.5 percent or 67 of those who took the survey currently use marijuana and 2.7 or 11 of the students admit to trying heroin. She said 2.1 percent or nine students said they have used methamphetamine and 15 or 3.6 percent had said they used ecstasy.
Fifty students, or 12.2 percent, said they had been offered or sold drugs on school property and 13.4 percent said they had taken drugs that were not prescribed by a doctor.
Especially disturbing to Dreyer was that 14.3 percent said they didn't see anything wrong with taking drugs prescribed to someone else and 31.2 percent said they easy or very easy access to prescription drugs.
About half said they don't see anything wrong with using marijuana but Dreyer attributed the decline in the number of student who use it to to widening availability of other drugs and the expense of marijuana relative to opioids.
The School Board encouraged parents and others in the community to become more involved with "It Takes a Village" at the High School PTO or the task forced being formed by key members of the town of Belmont.
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