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ACT to train vendors for tobacco, alcohol sales

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Do you know that some high school students believe that 90 percent of their peers have tried or regularly use marijuana?
That’s what the Anti-Drug Coalition of Tipton County is learning during discussions with children in the Tipton County Schools system.
Since its inception in 2011, ACT has worked to create awareness of drug use in Tipton County.
“What’s scary is so many kids think marijuana isn’t a big deal,” said Robin Racine, coordinator of ACT. “'Since it’s natural, it must not be bad for you,’ is what they’ll say. However, we know otherwise.”
“The perception is higher with kids who use then with children who don’t,” said president of the coalition, Scottie Delashmit, referring to the reported statistic.
Racine, Delashmit and the members of the coalition have discussed not only the current ramifications of marijuana use, but what will happen if it becomes legal.
“Just imagine all of the driving under the influence that could take place. We need to be prepared.”
The coalition, comprised of individuals, government bodies and organizations, meets the third Thursday of every month at the justice center and the members are “working the plan,” according to Racine.
The plan Racine refers to is a multi-pronged approach to address and increase awareness of underage drinking, tobacco use and prescription drug abuse.

Underage drinking, tobacco use
•    Underage drinking can begin as young as nine or ten years old, according to Racine. A billboard detailing this information was developed and displayed on Highway 51 for several months this summer.
•    New billboards target binge drinking and steps are being taken to educate the coalition’s front line of defense: convenience store clerks.
•    To help assess alcohol, drug and tobacco use among minors, the coalition has begun distributing vendor packs throughout Tipton County. In addition to information and door clings, the packets include a questionnaire about what managers and employees are seeing on a daily basis, with regards to underage use.  
•    The coalition will also provide vendor training on April 4, for anyone who sells alcohol or tobacco.
•    Members of the Covington High School HOSA worked with the coalition to put together a flash mob for “Kick Butt Day,” held on March 19.
Prescription drugs
•    A presentation to Baptist Memorial Hospital Tipton physicians regarding reporting practices for patients who are doctor shopping or obtaining fraudulent prescriptions is set for April. General Mike Dunavant and Chief Donna Turner will speak on behalf of the coalition.
•    The coalition has in its sights administering surveys to high school students to get more accurate data regarding alcohol, drug and tobacco use. The surveys will be used to show changes based on the coalition’s efforts and will conducted on three grades per year.
•    Additionally, the coalition is supporting the DEA’s National Drug Take Back Initiative on April 26. “We will take your old prescriptions or other substances and properly destroy them,” said Racine.
•    Literature with the newest slang terms for drugs, such as “cotton,” for OxyContin or “kibbles and bits” for Ritalin is available through the coalition, as are at home drug testing kits, and at home lock boxes for prescriptions.
•    The first 5/10k run/walk for the coalition is in the planning stages for Nov. 22.

“Everything we do needs to affect our environment,” said Racine. “We are pooling community resources to be more effective in our efforts.”
For more information, contact Robin Racine at robin.racine@pcswtn.org or (901) 313-1115.

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