The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

June 30, 2013

Outreach, support at faith-based gathering, Operation Family Freedom

By Wendy Holdren
Register-Herald Reporter

BECKLEY — A faith-based event to address drug addiction and abuse, Operation Family Freedom, was hosted Saturday at Linda K. Epling Stadium.

MAPDA (Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse) and One Voice were on site to provide outreach services and support for those struggling with drugs and their families.

“We just wanted to come together to show the community that they can have fun at a drug-free, alcohol-free event,” One Voice Director Debra Davis said.

She said this is the second annual event and they were excited to come back again this year for music, worship and fun.

Wyoming County student Jacob Snuffer attended the event to talk about SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions).

He said Wyoming County SADD recently attended a national conference in Florida to learn how to keep their classmates drug-free.

“I am excited to share the knowledge I brought back from the conference with other kids,” Snuffer said.

Beckie Smith, with MAPDA, was also at the event to show support.

“We have monthly support meetings for families. We meet every third Tuesday of the month at the One Voice location in Beckley at 6 p.m.”

Smith said she wished there had have been an organization like this to help her out during her son Jamie’s struggles with drug abuse.

Today, fortunately, her son has gotten clean and was even a part of the event Saturday.

“He’s driving the church bus today. Words can’t even describe the feeling, how thankful I am.”

Congressman Nick Rahall, a big supporter of One Voice, said this was his second year attending the event.

“I’ve seen a lot of progress over the last year,” Rahall said. “One Voice has made a difference and will continue to make a difference in the future.”

He said he was glad to see churches, One Voice, MAPDA and the community all coming together to help those struggling with addiction.

He also noted local law enforcement efforts, as well as Drug Take Back Days, which have proved very successful at helping prevent the potential for abuse.

While Rahall said the prescription drug abuse epidemic does seems to be decreasing, he said the drug of choice may become heroin.

“Heroin will be easier to get a handle on because it’s illegal. The prescription drug problem is troublesome because those drugs are legal.”

Oceana Police Patrolman Korey Spears and Oceana City Councilman Jim Cook were at the event, hoping to raise funds to purchase and train a drug dog for the Oceana Police Department.

“The outburst of the prescription drug problem is hard to combat,” Spears said, but the help of a K-9 unit could be very beneficial.

Cook said the town is trying to be more proactive versus reactive. He said cost of the dog, training fees, etc., would cost the town $8,000 and they are seeking donations.

Rahall commended the efforts of all those fighting the problem. He said he hopes those who are struggling with abuse or those who have friends and family members with a problem turn to prayer.

“Prayer is a powerful tool among all of us. We need to turn to prayer for inspiration and guidance.”

For more information about One Voice, call the Beckley location at 681-238-5724 or the Wyoming County location at 304-732-7701.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com