By REBECCA HAZEN
The Dade County Sheriff’s Office is holding SCOPE, Sheriff Cross’ Overdose Prevention Event, a free, family–friendly event on Saturday, May 28, from 10 a.m. to midnight at Veteran’s Memorial Park on the square.
“The Sheriff is really worried about how many drug overdoses we have had in the county. He wanted to do something to try and help,” Sergeant Cyndi Thurman said.
“Enforcement is a lot of what we do, trying to arrest these people. When we get them back to the jail, the Sheriff is the first one back there talking to them. Not only is he big on the enforcement aspect, he is big on the education aspect,” Sergeant Chad Payne said. “It’s not about locking people up. None of us believe that locking someone up is going to fix the problem. It is so important to give them the resources.”
There will be drug counselors, drug education, and rehab information available at SCOPE. Private Clinic North, an addiction treatment center located in Rossville, and K’s Diet Clinic and Family Practice in Trenton will have representatives at the event.
“If someone wants to talk to a counselor in private, we will have it set up so that they can go talk somewhere privately,” Thurman said. “Anyone can talk to the counselors, the family, or the person dealing with drugs themselves.”
“Probably everyone in the world has been touched in some form or fashion by drug use. My sister is a prime example. She was great. She had a college education, she had a family and a good job. She got on meth and ended up in prison. I am thankful every day that I never got that call that she had overdosed,” Payne said.
Lookout Mountain Community Services, A Hand UP Ministry, and Dade First Family Connection will also be there.
There will also be free food at the event. The Sheriff’s Office will grill hotdogs and hamburgers for attendees. Choo Choo Kettle Corn will also provide popcorn.
The first 300 people who come to the event will get a free t-shirt. There will be games, and a bouncy house as well. Board games will be given out as prizes. At night, the movie “Facing the Giants” will be shown.
Local musician Camden Smith and his band, The Camden Smith Show, will perform twice during the event, at 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. In addition, Dade County Executive Ted Rumley will also perform.
Thurman and Payne noted that, as far as they know, this is the first type of educational event like this sponsored by a Sheriff’s Department in the tri-state area.
“This is just another avenue of outreach, another way to try to prevent this. Every life is precious, and we all believe it,” Payne said.
“If we save one life, that makes it all completely worth it,” Thurman said.