2018-06-28 / Front Page

FCMC Kicks Off Drug-free Summer

Offers alternatives for summer fun
By Cassidy Pittman
STAFF WRITER


Despite rain, kids enjoy bouncy castles, games, and a scavenger hunt of flags at this year’s Drug Free Kickoff Summer event hosted by Fulton County Medical Center last Friday. Despite rain, kids enjoy bouncy castles, games, and a scavenger hunt of flags at this year’s Drug Free Kickoff Summer event hosted by Fulton County Medical Center last Friday. Despite the rain last Friday several local organizations, including the Fulton County Family Partnership, True North, and the Food Basket’s Grow. Eat. Move. program, gathered at the Fulton County Medical Center (FCMC) to celebrate this year’s ‘Kick Off Your Drug Free Summer’ event.

The four-hour event welcomed families to participate in face painting, athletically and intellectually competitive games, bouncy castles, inflatable horse racing, a scavenger hunt, and a raffle for an overnight family vacation. While kids got to explore the different activities, parents had the opportunity to gather free health information and screenings, not just on physical health, but mental, emotional, and behavioral health as well. They were also able to receive pertinent information on what happens when parents supply alcohol to underage parties, as well as other substance-related dangers.

“What we hope to do every year is introduce alternative activities to drugs,” FCMC’s Marketing Director Misty Hershey explained. “We want to provide fun to the kids while informing parents about fun summer programs, health options, and also provide warnings as to what happens when or if they allow substance abuse among their children.”

Michael Straley, executive director of the FCMC Foundation, shared similar thoughts: “This program has always been great for our community, and we’re happy that FCMC is able to provide safe and fun opportunities like this kickoff to the entire community.”

According to the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) taken in Fulton County in 2017, the most used substance by youths here was alcohol. Nearly 47 (46.9) percent of Fulton County students who participated in the survey indicated that they have had early initiation to alcohol use. That is 3.3 percent higher than the state’s level, which falls at 43.3. percent. They also indicated that the most used substance was cigarettes, with 21.5 percent admitting lifetime use. Underage cigarette use in the county is 7 percent higher than the state’s level, which is 14.5 percent.

Fulton County’s PAYS data further indicated that access and willingness to use alcohol is above the state level. More than 30 (30.7) percent of students here chose the option of “other source provided it to me,” an average of 6 percent higher than the state level. The next most frequently chosen answer, 29.7 percent, was “parents provided it to me.” Statewide, 23.1 percent of respondents said parents provided alcohol to them.

Other organizations that participated in the kickoff were Family Behavioral Health, Franklin/Fulton Mental Health, Intellectual Disabilities and Early Intervention, the Fulton County Library, The Center for Community Action, Hope Christian Academy, FCMC Women’s Imaging, FCMC, and several others.

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