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FHS students speak to group about ‘vaping’ dangers, risks

The Washington Parish Coalition on Human Services (WPCHS) held its January meeting at ADAPT. The guest speakers were Shyanne Burris and Gracie Thigpen, who are both students at Franklinton High School and belong to the Washington Parish Youth Coalition Against Drugs.

They shared local data pertaining to opioids and marijuana use, as well as a detailed presentation on vaping. They noted that many uneducated choices are being made from the purchase of products — including possible addiction and the unknown long-term results.

Rusty Fornea installed the 2021 officers for the coalition. Newly inducted officers include Glory Davis, president; Gloria Kates, vice president; Alice “A.J.” Sherrard, second vice president; Katasha August, secretary; Tiffany Crain, treasurer; and Mike Ingram, parliamentarian. Fornea is the executive director for WPCHS/ADAPT.

Reports were given by members. Rusty Fornea, ADAPT executive director, announced that ADAPT is continuing to offer all services, including the sexual assault services which are free. ADAPT has opened an office in Franklinton on Cleveland Street to primarily provide sexual assault services.

Rhonda Gunnell, ADAPT/PFS director, reported that Prevention Connection/Partnership for Success meetings are held each month at 8:30 a.m., prior to the WPCHS meeting. The meetings are open to anyone who would like to join forces in reducing underage drinking and substance use by youth. She also reported on activities and events that took place in December.

Marty Hennegan, BFH/DHH, reported that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) cases have increased in the past three months. Anyone who needs safe bedding for a child under the age of six can contact her.

Regina Meyerchick, ADAPT/DFC director, announced that she and Fornea will be sharing a presentation at the CADCA National Forum Ideas Fair during the first week of February. The presentation will highlight accomplishments of WPCHS. Meyerchick stated that the youth coalition now has over 100 members.

Katasha August, Bogalusa High School Health Center, reported that BHS is providing drive through COVID-19 testing for students, staff and other school system employees on Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.

Those in attendance included (in-person) Rhonda Gunnell, Ginger Champagne, Rusty Fornea, Gloria Kates, Maddie Champagne, Tiffany Crain, Regina Meyerchick, Shyanne Burris and Gracie Thigpen; (via Zoom) Katasha August, Nnenna Minimah, Kristin Wheat, Stephanie Seals, Selina Gilliland, David Boudreaux, Marty Hennegan, A.J. Sherrard and Jennifer Johnson.

The next scheduled meeting for WPCHS will be on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 9:30 a.m. at ADAPT, located at 216 Memphis St. in Bogalusa. Meetings are open to the public.

For more information, contact Fornea at 985-735-0160.