Successful Luncheon and Discussion of Local Drug Problem


We are happy to report that we had a very successful luncheon and forum to discuss the growing drug abuse problem in the greater Kanawha valley area. We were thrilled to have so many community leaders and experts come and share with us their knowledge and thoughts about the issues facing those who want to help prevent and treat substance abuse in our area.

We had a fantastic turnout. After everyone arrived and got their food, which was generously donated by Panera Bread, we began the meeting with a musical invocation, “Bless the Beasts and the Children,” sung by Charles Maddox and accompanied by Mike Arcuri and Margaret Wilson.

Then our keynote speaker, Dr. Rahul Gupta, West Virginia State Health Officer, delivered an engaging and informative presentation. Many of us were surprised by some of the facts he shared, and we were grateful for his willingness to share his expertise with us.

After Dr. Gupta spoke, we had an open discussion in which all of our panel members and many of our audience members participated. Our panel members were Huntington Mayor Steve Williams; Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey; Dr. Elizabeth J. Scharman, Director of the West Virginia Poison Center; Dana L. Petroff, Director of Addiction Services for Prestera Center; Mike Rutherford, Chief Deputy of the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Department; Kristi Justice, Executive Director of Kanawha Communities that Care; Rev. Tim Dixon, Senior Pastor of Huntington’s First Congregational United Church of Christ; and our own Charles Maddox, President here at Drug and Alcohol Presentations, Inc. In addition, Kris Clifford served as our moderator for the discussion. All of our panel members had helpful information to provide, and we thank them for coming and participating.

In our audience were many other community leaders and local experts, including Chesapeake Mayor Janet Armentrout; Dr. Michelle Easton, Dean of the Graduate School of Pharmacy at the University of Charleston; WV Delegate Nancy Guthrie; Bishop Klusmeyer of the WV Episcopal Diocese; Mike Jarrett, Chaplain of the Kanawha County Emergency Ambulance Authority; Rev. Patterson of Partnership for African-American Churches; Rev. Patterson Lyles of Kanawha United Presbyterian Church; Rev. Dr. Jay Parkins of Christ Church United Methodist; and a guidance counselor, four students, and a physician’s assistant from Sissonville High School.

The discussion was highly enlightening, and it was wonderful to think out loud with so many people who share our passion for preventing substance abuse in the lives of young people and in our community. We look forward to acting on some of the ideas put forth and working harder to stop the growing drug abuse problem in our area.

We sincerely thank everyone who came to the luncheon, as well as Panera Bread for their donation of the food and catering. Thank you all for helping make this such a successful event!