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‘Dangers of drug use’ Riverbend hosts community talk on teenage drinking, drug use

The Russellville community met Thursday night in the high school cafeteria to discuss the issues of underage drinking, drug abuse and the opioid crisis.

The keynote speaker for the night was Jocelynn James, founder and director of The Place of Grace. James told her story about becoming addicted to opioids after first using prescription drugs following multiple surgeries.

“I followed every instruction on the bottle,” James said. “I did things how you’re supposed to, but I still became addicted because I liked how they made me feel.”

James has been clean of opioids since November 2012, and in August 2013 she made it her mission to help others struggling with drug addiction. She said since August 2013, she has helped 508 women seeking help for addiction.

Another speaker during the community discussion was Russellville Police Department homicide investigator Lt. Jake Tompkins. Tompkins shared what he has seen as a law enforcement officer involving drugs and alcohol and what to do to help anyone who might need help – particular youth.

“A lot of parents think if they find drugs in their house that they can’t call us because they will go to jail, but that’s not true,” Tompkins said. “We will come to your house and dispose of the drugs, but we will also talk to your child about the dangers of drug use.”

Franklin County juvenile probation officer Kevin Strickland talked about some of the problems he has seen teenagers face involving alcohol and drugs. He said the majority of the time, parents play a large role in whether the child will be a repeat offender.

“We could say the ultimate goal is to keep all of these drugs out of schools,” Strickland said, “but the truth is, they are already here.”