Townhall on substance abuse set for Oct. 29

Jared Estes will be the featured speaker at a townhall meeting to address substance abuse at 7 p.m. Tues?day, Oct. 29, in the Marion Community Building.

The county-wide meeting is one of several activities the Marion County Sub?stance Abuse Prevention Coalition is collaborating with school districts and local communities during Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23-31.

Estes is from the Paige Estes Memorial Foundation, which was formed following the death of Paige Estes, Jared?s wife, in a drunken driving accident in 2005.

The couple were returning home from a Wichita Thunder hockey game when a Porsche slammed the couple?s car at 150 mph. Jared was critically injured.

The driver, who was drunk at the time, pleaded guilty to second degree murder about a year later.

Estes will speak about his loss, hardships, perseverance and recovery at the town hall meeting.

Joining SAPC as co-sponsors of the meeting are Marion County Peace Officers and the Paige Estes Memorial Foundation.

Estes also will speak to middle school and high school students at USD 408 and USD 398 earlier that day.

This week, motivational speaker Rick Voisin will present at other school districts. He is scheduled to speak to middle and high school students at USD 410 Wednesday, and at USD 411 and USD 397 Thursday.

SAPC is a fairly new coalition formed to prevent substance abuse in youth and promote healthy behaviors.

The coalition manages the Marion County alcohol tax fund and received a five-year grant in October 2012 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

?With this grant, our main focus is to prevent underage drinking,? said Ashlee Gann who serves on the SAPC as director of Families and Communities Together.

SAPC also includes representatives from all five county school districts, local government, community members, mental health, law enforcement and youth-serving organizations.

Gann said SAPC is still in the recruitment process and is seeking representation from local businesses, media, parents, youth and churches and faith-based organizations.

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