Drug-Free Relay takes stand for health
A sense of community is often said to be lacking in much of the modern
world, particularly in the big cities. Community standards are slowly
eroding. Prison systems are bursting at the seams with criminals, many
of whom having been laid low by drugs. Social problems including family
breakdown run rampant.
Some organizations, however, are fighting this erosion and trying to preserve strong, vital communities. The local Drug-Free Relay is one such organization. The 12th annual relay conducted recently in La Grande helped build a sense of community. The relay, its organizers and participants took a stand that says we want La Grande to be a safe, enjoyable place to live and raise a family, and to do that we must make wise decisions about drug use. As parents and educators, it’s never too early to intervene and train youngsters about the dangers of drugs. A recent survey of eighth-graders showed 26 percent had used alcohol, 20 percent had smoked cigarettes and 19 percent had used other drugs in the last month.
Some drug use is inevitable, sure. But with parental guidance, involvement and responsibility, the tide can be stemmed. Parents need to establish standards of behavior and expectations of school performance for their children.
Instead, too often, parents fail at the job. They get hooked on drugs themselves and set a terrible example. Often, the home situation deteriorates, and the family unit suffers harm.
The Drug-Free Relay, its participants and its many dedicated volunteers seek to make La Grande all it can be — an all-American town in which to raise kids. A wonderful place to retire. A terrific place to live and pursue our dreams.
Involved citizens know that drug- and alcohol-free lifestyles can go a long way toward making that dream come true. As new La Grande Police Chief Brian Harvey noted in his keynote address, the Just Say No campaign fell short because it left the onus on children rather than their parents. Parents need to discipline their children and to show them that they deeply care they are drug free. They need to lead by example. As Harvey says, if parents don’t offer consequences, judges will.
Sure, La Grande does have drug problems. And it is not the Mayberry of the old “Andy Griffith Show” fame. Still, the volunteers and contributors who make the Drug-Free Relay a success in rallying the community to healthy lifestyles deserve a round of applause.