Nicholas County releases survey results to prevent drug abuse and help mental health

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 9:09 PM EDT
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SUMMERSVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) - In a community working to deal with the effects of the opioid epidemic, the COVID pandemic took attention away from efforts to educate and help kids in the county.

“We are trying to find solutions in the opioid crisis and then comes along the pandemic,” said Summersville Mayor Robert Shafer.

The Nicholas County Intervention Coalition Drug Prevention Committee offered the survey to students in the county in October 2020 with a grant from the coalition. Of more than 700 students in seventh, ninth and 11th grades, about 400 students responded.

The goal of the survey was to find out how drug abuse and mental health are affecting kids in the county during the pandemic and to find ways to target specific issues found in the results of the survey.

In order to help students, the nationally recognized Pride Survey was used.

“I think even from the information they were provided that night it was even eye-opening for them,” Shafer said.

The survey found 33% of students felt more sad and hopeless within a 30-day period, and a little more than 5% percent of students said they thought about suicide during the pandemic.

“There were questions regarding that and there were a significant amount of kids that felt they were more depressed and more feelings of isolation during this time,” said Kimberly Raleigh, a member of the Drug Prevention committee.

Other results indicated students who started using tobacco in schools started at an average age of 13 years old. The survey also says kids got tobacco products from their family or friends.

The committee is working to help these issues by conducting events and activities and with drug education.

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