Region 8 drug prevention program comes to halt

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) – A local drug prevention program that went out of service earlier this year may be reinstated, according to a former member.

Derek Waddell told Region 8 News Wednesday that the "TONE" conference, which is usually held in December, was canceled in August due to funding cuts and other reasons. Waddell said he hopes the conference will be back in December of 2011.

"Our main goal is to prevent underage drinking. We did a bunch of little projects, going into schools, do lessons. Have billboards hanging up everywhere. We have conferences. We attend conferences," said Waddell.

Waddell is a graduate of the Maynard School District. He said he has stayed in touch with TONE members ever since.

"It's kind of a passion to me. I feel like if nobody else is going to try to make a difference, I need to try my best to do so," said Waddell.

According to TONE's Facebook page, volunteers are trying to determine how to get the conference back up and running.

"It stands for Teens of North East and basically it's all these little anti-drug groups in schools. They come together at the Holiday Inn for two days and they go to anti-drug workshops, and they learn stuff to take back there and there's an anti-drug party," said Jackson Troxel.

Troxel is a junior at Pocahontas High School. He said he found out TONE was shutting down through Facebook.

"It just said the position was eliminated, that it was no longer needed," said Troxel. "I won't be able to learn as much and share ideas with people and take stuff back to my school that I learn at TONE."

Troxel is a member of LINK at Pocahontas, along with Olivia Futrell.

"My grade and the one under gets through high school, they really won't have much knowledge as we have," said Futrell. "We go and get big ideas and then we bring them back to our school, and then we'll teach the people in our school."

The next TONE meeting is tentatively scheduled for January 11, 2011 at 10 a.m. in Jonesboro at Dimensions on Wilkins Street.

"We are not trying to create role models out of these teens. We're just trying to help them realize what they can be and how positive they can make a difference in our society," said Waddell. "We are trying to start from scratch. We're not even for sure if we're going to get to keep the same name as tone, but it's going to be the same thing. We're just going to have to cut back because of funding and try helping it grow again to what it was."

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