TOWNSHEND -- West River Valley Thrives, a community initiative working to reduce the misuse and abuse of drugs and alcohol and promoting healthy lifestyle choices, recently welcomed its new director, Julia Hampton.

Hampton comes from a strong history of community organizing and youth development as the past Youth Initiative Coordinator for United Way.

"I enjoy connecting with people from all sectors of the community and bring people together to solve problems and make positive change," she said. "We all play a role in the development of young people in our community whether we are conscious of it or not. It is important to look at what influences the opportunities and choices young people make and how we, as a community, can help shape the most beneficial path."

Hampton invites community members of all ages to join her, and a number of professionals from different sectors of the community, to discuss one of the most pressing issues related to substance use: the misuse of prescription drugs. Seventeen percent of high school students in Windham Central Supervisory Union reported having misused a stimulant or prescription pain reliever at least once and 8 percent in the last 30 days.

West River Valley Thrives is hosting a dinner and conversation, March 26 at 5 p.m., to provide an opportunity to look at the issue from all sides and determine how we can move forward to combat this issue.


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"There will be professionals and youth speaking to how and why so many pain relievers are prescribed, why young people use them and how they get a hold of them, what the laws are around use and disposal and the interventions and treatment for someone already addicted," said Hampton.

This community dinner and conversation will be at the Townshend Church on 46 Common Road. For more information, contact Hampton at wrvtdirector@gmail.com.