According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance use and abuse impose a large economic cost to society. Reports estimate this economic cost to at about $559 billion annually and include spending related to drug enforcement, incarceration, crime, productivity loss and health care. The Office of National Drug Control Policy echoes the harmful and negative consequences of substance use and abuse on the U.S. economy by citing turnover, absenteeism and school performance as additional areas of economic impact.
Here in Centre County, however, many agree that the problems associated with alcohol, tobacco and other drug use and abuse are considerably more than just economic — they are personal. Whether you are a family member, a friend, a teacher or a neighbor, substance use and abuse can touch your life in a variety of ways. Especially when it involves our young people, pain and hardship can result. When interfacing with substance use and abuse, people often are left with questions such as: What can we do to battle this growing epidemic? Where can we turn when we see a loved one suffering? Where can people go to reach out for help when they finally admit they have a problem and want to turn things around?
In an effort to address these questions and more, state Rep. Mike Hanna, of the 76th District, will host our first Community Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Awareness Event in the Mountaintop area of Centre County on April 3. The goal is to provide resources, information and education to residents. We have gathered experts in the field from local, county and state agencies and others who will share their knowledge and experience. The event will consist of a public meeting with presentations and a question-and-answer session with a panel of professionals. Before and after the public meeting, attendees can browse exhibitors’ tables gathering brochures and helpful information and talk individually with them for more specific advice and direction.
The event is free and is for concerned adults and young people. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and presentations will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Moshannon Community Center, 1351 W. Sycamore Road, Moshannon. If you have any questions, call Hanna’s Milesburg office at 353-8780.