ST. ALBANS — Drug prevention was the topic of conversation at Tuesday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of St. Albans.


President Christine Stell revealed Rotary is paying for the distribution of booklets containing information on prescription drug use in today’s Messenger.


Maria Roosevelt of the Foundation for a Drug Free World, publishers of the booklet, was on hand to talk about the series of informational booklets and drug prevention curricula produced by the foundation.


“The idea is to empower people,” said Roosevelt. “Drugs are a business. You have to have people who want your products.”


By informing potential dealers’ potential customers of the long and short-term effects of drugs, the foundation hopes to reduce drug use. “Informed people, from my viewpoint, have the opportunity to make informed decisions,” said Roosevelt.


The foundation produces an entire series of booklets, all of which will be available at the St. Albans Police Dept. (SAPD). The booklets are free and the display racks cost $149 each.


Remax Destinations is sponsoring a rack for the Swanton Police Dept. and RPM Logos has offered to purchase one for the Vermont State Police barracks in St. Albans. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is also planning to install a rack.


The foundation also provides a free curriculum for use by schools or other organizations.


Law enforcement officers from the county’s four agencies also spoke to Rotary.


Franklin County Sheriff Robert Norris said of drug use, “It’s to an epidemic level.”


Prevention and treatment are required to address the problem, according to Norris, along with enforcement. “We can only do a third of the job,” he said.


Swanton Police Chief Joey Stell reiterated his view that drug abuse is a problem “we can’t arrest our way out of.”


“Education and prevention and treatment isn’t going to come free,” he said. “We’re going to have to spend some money.”


Roger Langevin from the SAPD expressed his support for education as a way to eliminate the future market for drug dealers.


So far this year, 20,889 bags of heroin have been seized on Vermont’s roads, with a street value of more than $1 million, according to Langevin.

For the full story and a copy of one of the drug prevention booklets, pick up a copy of today’s Messenger.