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'Stand in the Gap' takes more steps to fight drug abuse

12:34 AM, Jan 14, 2013   |    comments
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Members of 'Stand in the Gap' are known for marching against drug abuse that's plaguing many communities, but now the group is taking some extra steps in trying to alleviate the problem.

Sunday afternoon, about 50 members of 'Stand in the Gap' sat inside Lincoln Memorial University's Performing Arts Center in Duke Hall discussing the increasing drug problem, especially in the communities near the Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia border.

Edwin Robertson, 'Stand in the Gap' Coordinator, said, "It's been reported that if you took a compass and you stuck the [needle] of that compass in the three states marker here where Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia come together and you open it up so you encompass a 50-mile radius, that circle would identify of the United States that has the highest meth and prescription drug abuse in this nation."

Lori Phillips-Jones, District Attorney General for the 8th Judicial District, said, "Campbell County last year, 2012, was third in the state in meth lab busts. That's even more than Memphis."

Phillips-Jones, who's also a 'Stand in the Gap' member, said the drug problem is the biggest problems facing the area where she works.

At Sunday's meeting, 'Stand in the Gap' members learned about a Drug-Free Communities grant, which provides money to counties to educate children about the dangers of drug.

Trent Coffey, Executive Director for School Together Allowing No Drugs (S.T.A.N.D.), was recently awarded the grant for Scott County and shared some of his knowledge with his fellow 'Stand in the Gap' members. He said, "A lot of the partners here are just starting and they're wanting to apply for it so I was just letting them know some of the mistakes, pitfalls, and successes that I have went through and try to share with them so they can write a good grant application."

'Stand in the Gap' members also discussed their push to get state legislators to make pseudoephedrine, a common drug used to make methamphetamine, a prescription-only drug.

Robertson said, "Oregon did it and they went from 400 meth lab busts in a year to the next year they had 20."

'Stand in the Gap' members are hoping to have enough support letters in hand supporting their push to make pseudoephedrine a prescription-only drug in time for the legislative fall session.

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