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      Picnic Focuses On Safety &
Creating Drug-Free Communities

Drug Awareness Picnic
The 2011 Drug Awareness program featured the unveiling of a new COMBAT logo, live entertainment, free food and information about drug prevention and treatment programs.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2011 -- Gray skies and some rain failed to put a damper on the COMBAT Drug Awareness Picnic held Saturday, September 17 at Jarboe Park in Kansas City. The inclement weather didn't stop families and community members from coming out to support COMBAT's mission.

Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker presented the prizes for the COMBAT poetry writing contest. Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp was also in attendance, along with representatives of other law enforcement agencies.

COMBAT hosted the Drug Awareness Picnic to coincide with National Recovery Month, which promotes the benefits to society of the treatment individuals receive for substance abuse and mental disorders. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), "Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover. "


Diamond S. receives the poetry contest first-place trophy from Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker. View the video to see Diamond read her winning poem.

By Diamond S.

If my mom wasn’t a drunk driver - I wouldn’t be so scared to get in a car.

If my mom didn’t do drugs and get sick - I would be a high school graduate.

If she never would’ve met that man - my mom wouldn’t be money hungry and a drug head.

She’d still be a good mother.

Drugs and alcohol took my mother.

A nightmare I wish I could’ve woke from.

But instead I lived that nightmare most of my life.

I tried to escape

but that’s my momma

and I love her.

Drugs and alcohol took control of her mind, body and soul.

The day it changed my momma is the day my life took a hold of me.

It’s scary to get up in the morning,

afraid that my momma wouldn’t be breathing

afraid that she’s gonna argue

afraid she’s gonna fight with me.

I tried to leave

but she’s my momma

and I love her.

Drugs and alcohol really took control of my momma.

She was strong, independent, trustworthy, honest and loyal to her family.

Now we don’t even recognize her.

It’s like she’s a stranger to our family.

I wanted her to change for the better,

but she will never change.

Alcohol and drugs took control of her.

And now

She’s the lost drug mother.

The Python Drill Team of Kansas City got Saturday's picnic off to a rousing start, performing a series of cadences and routines. COMBAT Director Stacey Daniels-Young then welcomed all picnic guests and introduced Peters Baker for the poetry contest awards presentation. The winning entries were read on stage by the poets:

First Place: Diamond S.

Second Place: Abigail Karr

Third Place: Terri Saunders

COMBAT staff and representatives of various agencies funded in part through the Community Backed Anti-Drug Tax provided information about an array of prevention programs and treatment options.

Those attending the picnic enjoyed hot dogs, ice cream, cotton candy and a number of family-fun activities.

COMBAT Assistant Director of Operations Vince Ortega gave a heart-felt thank you to all who made the picnic possible and to the families who showed their support of COMBAT's efforts to make our communities safer and drug-free.

22nd Year For Recovery Month

This September marks the 22nd year in which Recovery Month has been celebrated. "Recovery Month promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible," states the SAMHSA website, "and also encourages citizens to take action to help expand and improve the availability of effective recovery services for those in need."

SAMHSA operates a 24/7 referral hotline for people seeking treatment at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

The 2011 theme for Recovery Month is "Join the Voices of Recovery: Recovery Benefits Everyone" as SAMHSA emphasizes the changes in the availability of treatment services made possible through 2008 Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. That federal law required making insurance coverage of mental health conditions and substance abuse comparable to coverage for other medical conditions.

For more information, download SAMHSA's "Fast Facts About Health Reform, Substance Use and Mental Disorders, Treatment and Recovery."


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