School System Forms Drug Task Force

By Heather Haley | 

One Eastern Kentucky school system has branched out to form a task force to fight substance abuse in their county.

The Pike County School Substance Abuse Task Force has only been in existence this school year. Through prevention and intervention, they hope to clean up Pike County's drug problem but school officials aren't the only ones involved.

In the last Substance Abuse Task Force meeting of the school year, the Cantrell family was one of several families invited to tell their story of dealing with a love one addicted to drugs.

"It's a long hard fought battle but a family can stay together if they try to seek out help and trust the Lord and just get education about this addiction," said Gay Cantrell who is a mother of a recovering drug addict.

School officials say they see children of all ages affected by drugs.

"We just had a whole lot of kids and families begging for help and so what we decided to do as a school was play our role," said Pike County School Superintendent Roger Wagner.

Cantrell hopes sharing her experiences of raising a drug addicted son can help other families before their children are lost.

"If we had this 10 years ago and they are communicating like they do now, perhaps my son and other children would not have been addicted for so long. We could have gotten them help sooner," Cantrell said.

"We have law enforcement, judicial branch, hospital and medical communities, faith communities represented from several churches," Wagner said.

Superintendent Wagner feels their Substance Abuse Task Force can improve the environment in their schools and improve the education for Pike County students.

"I see so much hope here, they want to help people and the avenues and channels are here, you just have to know who to call and ask for help but its available in this county," Cantrell said.

Since the Substance Abuse Task Force has grown so much this school year, officials have decided to form coalitions in different parts of Pike County. For more information on the Pike County School Substance Abuse Task Force call the Board of Education at (606) 433-9200.

The task force hopes to form "Satellite Coalitions" in five areas of Pike County:
1. Pikeville, Mullins, Shelbiana, Johns Creek Vicinity
2. Dorton, Virgie, Shelby Valley vicinity
3. Elkhorn City, East Ridge, Feds Creek, Regina vicinity
4. Phelps vicinity
5. Belfry, South Williamson vicinity

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