Meridian Star

October 25, 2013

Program to promote dangers of substance abuse

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Adele Williamson Graham has been in recovery from substance abuse for the past six years.

    When she stands today in front of a group of students at Northwest Middle School in Meridian the youngsters will know they are getting their information from someone who has been there, done that. It will be the kind of presentation the students should listen to along with the other two recovery substance abuse speakers, Melissa Rawson and Nicole Clearman.

    "It think it will help them understand because we have been in positions we are trying to keep them out of," Graham said. "Our main message is for them to never start abusing alcohol or drugs. Our second message is if you are already in this you can get out of it and get help. We did."

    Graham and her organization TAME (Teaching Alcohol, Addiction, Anger Management Education) is teaming up with Meridian Mayor Percy Bland and officials with the Meridian Police Department to get this message across to an age group prone to abusing alcohol and narcotics. The Northwest Middle School Red Ribbon Program will begin at 2:15 p.m. Graham said Bland will open the program, followed by MPD DARE Officer Ryan Williamson. Rod Brown will also be on hand with Rebel, a K-9 officer whose primary duties are the detection of illegal narcotics.

    TAME, LLC, located at 1201 22nd Ave., in Meridian, works with local courts in handling offenders with any type of substance abuse, including alcohol and anger management issues. The organization's mission is to reduce the number of repeat offenders, Graham said.

    Graham said it is important to zero in on middle school aged students with the hope of catching them before they are pressured by their peers to begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol. Graham said Red Ribbon Week, which runs from Oct. 23 through Oct. 30, is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention campaign reaching more than 80 million people nationwide.

    “I have worked in the field of substance abuse treatment for the last six years," Graham said. "This, combined with my knowledge of the inner workings of the local court systems, gives me a unique insight into our community’s educational needs. It is my hope that through TAME I can raise awareness that recovery from substance abuse is indeed possible. One of the best places to start drug awareness education is with the youth of our community.”

    For more information about the program, contact Graham at 601-482-5353.