Project Purple program reviewed

By Amy Hancock - [email protected]

SIDNEY — The Shelby County Drug Task Force Education and Prevention Committee met recently to discuss updates and ideas regarding the implementation of Project Purple, an initiative designed to bring awareness to the issue of substance abuse by promoting abstinence and positive decison making.

Margo O’Leary, director of marketing and public relations at Wilson Memorial Hospital, along with Ann Geise, guidance counselor for Sidney City Schools, recently spoke with students from Sidney High School to introduce the initiative and to hear their suggestions for how to execute it successfully.

According to O’Leary and Geise, the students enthusiastically brainstormed ways to promote the initiative throughout the schools, and even suggested a slogan for the program, “Stay Purple with a Purpose.”

Other propositions included organizing a school-wide “Purple Out,” during which students and faculty can wear the color purple in support of the project.

O’Leary stressed that flexibility of the program is important, and said when it comes to the growth of Project Purple throughout Shelby County, much is still to be determined.

Scott Barr, of the Shelby County United Way, was also in attendance and discussed the possibility of grants to support the promotion of the program. According to Barr, the Shelby County Student United Way, which was launched in September, would be able to solicit this type of grant once more concrete details are hashed out, including the amount of money needed and the specifics of what the money will go toward.

Barr also noted the Student United Way will be meeting from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14, at the Shelby County Police Department to discuss the issue of drug abuse, during which this plan of action may be explored further.

O’Leary said the entire initiative is expected to launch at the end of January with the introduction of Project Purple Week, after which an event or promotion may be held monthly or bi-monthly with the help of student leaders.

The committee also discussed the outcome of the Community Conversation meeting held at the American Legion Post 217 on Thursday, Nov. 2.

Barr, who was present at the gathering, said it went well, with over 100 people in attendance. According to Barr, panelists, which included representatives from the Sidney Police Department, Shelby County Counseling Center and Shelby County Department of Job and Family Services, among others, were presented with many questions from the public, which made the discussion even more productive.

A Community Conversation will be held Thursday, Jan. 25, for the Sidney-Shelby Chamber of Commerce’s Human Resource Council for its members.

Another topic of business discussed at the committee meeting was the proposal of a prescription drug disposal system to increase the ease of safe medication disposal.

O’Leary said there is a need for more drop sites for prescription medications, as currently, the sheriff’s office is the main site within Shelby County. She suggested the possibility of working with the sheriff’s department to create more drop sites around the county.

O’Leary did also acknowledged the potential setbacks, and stated more research would need to be done in order to determine the legality and practicality of this proposition.

By Amy Hancock

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825

Reach the writer at 937-538-4825