Scouts do their best, make it their duty to fight drug abuse

Westminster center helps group's national effort to educate youths

June 11, 2000|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

District Boy Scout leaders are hiking a virtual extra mile this year to educate nearly 3,000 members of 75 troops and packs in Carroll County about the dangers and harmful effects of drug abuse.

Not only have Carroll Scouts joined "Drugs: A Deadly Game," a Boy Scouts program launched in 1994, but local Scout leaders have sought additional resources to complement the national program's message.

Junction Inc., a Westminster-based substance-abuse treatment and prevention center, helped the Scouts secure a $600 grant to purchase a drug abuse and paraphernalia display box, said Rhonda Zile, who leads the drug awareness program for Scouting in the Carroll district. The box will be rotated among the troops and packs, showing the Scouts what drugs and drug paraphernalia look like.

The grant also will be used to give the Scouts a package of resource materials to share with their parents, Zile said.

As part of the program, each troop or pack is expected to devote at least one meeting annually to drug awareness, said Zile, who became involved in Boy Scouts 10 years ago when son Steven, now 20, began his quest to achieve Scouting's highest rank, Eagle Scout. Her son Adam, 12, has reached the rank of First Class, the third level in the six-rank progression from Tenderfoot to Eagle.

While Scouting is for the young, Zile said, about 1,500 adults, many parents or grandparents, actively support their sons and grandsons. She said about 50 adults regularly attend monthly meetings of the Carroll District Committee.

And adults form the foundation of committees for each troop and pack, helping with fund raising, recruitment, transportation, monitoring programs and serving on boards of review, Zile said.

But mainly, adults serve as mentors, helping Scouts learn to plan and implement projects, and thus how to be leaders, she said.

According to the Baltimore Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the national program was launched in 1994 as a multimedia, multifaceted drug education program designed to stimulate small-group discussions about the dangers of drug use.

More than 16 million brochures of "Drugs: A Deadly Game" have been distributed since 1987, making it one of the largest anti-drug efforts nationally.

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