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Pontotoc County Drug Free Coalition To Host Winter Gala At ECU

Mark your calendars for the second annual Red Ribbon Gala hosted by the Pontotoc County Drug Free Coalition (PCDFC).

This year’s Winter Wonderland Gala event will take place on Friday, Feb. 9 at East Central University University’s Stanley Wagner Ballroom beginning at 6 p.m. The event will include a delicious meal, a silent auction, a speaker, entertainment, community awards and more. Event registration is now open at www.pcdfc.org.

Substance abuse issues continue to be a concern for our local youth and adults alike. According to the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services, 275,000 Oklahoma citizens (above age 12) are dependent on alcohol or other drugs.

Approximately 10 percent of youth in Oklahoma are struggling with substance abuse issues. Pontotoc County youth also report easy access to marijuana, prescription drugs and other illicit substances.

However, strides are being made in Pontotoc County in this fight against substance abuse. PCDFC was created as a substance abuse coalition in 2009 to address critical local concerns. Since that time PCDFC has grown to a coalition of over 100 members.

From 2014 to 2015, PCDFC worked with local law enforcement, prevention partners and local alcohol establishments to decrease the non-compliance rate of alcohol sales to underage youth by 17 percent. However, the non-compliance rate recently skyrocketed to 50-60 percent. PCDFC is calling for all alcohol establishment to improve their beverage service and compliance by participating in ongoing Responsible Beverage Service & Sales Training.

PCDFC also encourages Pontotoc County to utilize its prescription drug take back boxes to reduce local prescription drug issues. An average of 1,500 pounds of unused medications are recycled per year with this program. This helps prevent youth access to forgotten, unused or expired medications within the home.

But PCDFC needs your help to continue addressing substance abuse issues in our community.

“We are asking community members to continue supporting us by attending the Gala. This year’s event is shaping up to be a fun and informative evening” says Vicki Orsburn, executive member of PCDFC. The evening will start with a reception time at 6 p.m., with the program and dinner to begin at 6:30 p.m. The event will conclude at 9 p.m.

“I am always overwhelmed by the generous support from our community each year. We could not do this work without everyone’s involvement” states Holli Witherington, drug free communities grant director.

Local businesses are being encouraged to support this event by sponsoring a table at the Gala. Past event sponsors of the event include the Chickasaw Nation, Citizens Bank of Ada, Vision Bank, Mercy Hospital Ada, FATE, Inc., ECU, SCORE Broadcasting, Ada News, and Pontotoc County Drug Court. If you would like to join this list of charitable local sponsors or would like to purchase individual tickets, you can visit the Gatsby Gala link on PCDFC’s website at www.pcdfc.org or call PCDFC staff at (580) 559-5815.

You can also donate goods, gift certificates, or other items to the silent auction by contacting PCDFC staff at (580) 559-5720. Event proceeds will support coalition strategies, such as capacity building events within Pontotoc County, evidence-based environmental strategies, prevention programming for local schools, annual youth conferences, youth coalition initiatives & scholarship opportunities, training scholarships, outreach & media campaigns, and more.

If you would like to join us at a monthly meeting, PCDFC meets on the first Tuesday of every month at the Pontotoc County Health Department Meeting Room at 11:30 a.m. A free lunch is served and meetings are open to the entire community.

The Pontotoc County Drug Free Coalition (PCDFC) is united to reduce substance abuse. Through the use of proactive strategies, they empower our diverse community to sustain a healthy environment through education, awareness and policy advocacy.

For more information or media inquiries, contact the Pontotoc County Drug Free Coalition via email at media@pcdfc.org or by phone at 580-559-5990.  Visit www.pcdfc.org for more information.

-ECU-

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