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The agencies each got a $2,000 grant to provide training services.


Published: Sat, September 24, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.


The agencies each got a $2,000 grant to provide training services.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR EDUCATION WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Three local social service agencies have joined a statewide effort to educate people about the dangers of the drug methamphetamine.
Lutheran Social Services of the Mahoning Valley and United Methodist Community Center, both of Youngstown, and the Family Recovery Center in Lisbon have signed on with Ohio Parents for Drug Free Youth to provide community training services.
They join 34 other agencies across the state in the "Coalition Against Meth."
Each agency was awarded a $2,000 grant from OPDFY to fund that training. The money is channeled through the Ohio Department of Alcohol & amp; Drug Addiction Services.
Methamphetamine is easy to make using common household products, and laboratories have been found in homes, motel rooms and even vans, according to the Ohio attorney general's office.
The drug is becoming more commonplace on the streets. State authorities said the number of meth labs found in Ohio increased from 18 in 2000 to 350 in 2004.
Boosting collaboration
The "Coalition Against Meth" campaign is designed to increase collaboration between faith-based organizations and community groups to prevent substance abuse, particularly methamphetamine abuse.
The three local agencies are setting up training programs targeting various segments of the community.
The United Methodist Community Center is targeting other social service agencies, parents involved in its programs and a new Parent Resource Center program it is launching, said Millicent Counts, executive director.
The new program will provide telephone and personal contact with every parent in the Youngstown City Schools, she said.
The center held its first training session this week and will schedule others, she said.
"The total community is being affected," by the presence of methamphetamine, Counts said, citing statistics that show that, for every pound of meth made, six pounds of toxic waste are created that find their way into the environment.
Lutheran Social Services is targeting parents and educators with its training. The first session is set for Nov. 15 and a second will be held in the spring, said Goldia McCall, service coordinator.
The agency has partnerships with various other social service agencies and will use them to get referrals for the training. It will also run advertisements, put up posters and let area churches know that the training is available to interested people, she said.
Training session set
The Family Recovery Center will offer its first training session Nov. 9, said Michele DeCola, prevention specialist.
Her agency is targeting social workers, educators, social service agencies, guidance counselors and teachers at this point, she said.
OPDFY's Web site describes methamphetamine as a highly addictive stimulant to the central nervous system that can be smoked, injected, snorted or taken internally.
It's various street names include speed, crank, chalk, ice, crystal and Tina.
The drug elevates the heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate and can cause anxiety, paranoia, delusions and kidney, cardiac and other tissue damage.
OPDFY, founded in 1987, is a statewide prevention organization created by Ohioans concerned about substance abuse by young people. Its mission is to provide leadership and foster networks to promote safe and drug-free communities.
gwin@vindy.com


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