Posted by Sue Jones on Jun 08, 2018
L-R Kirk Young, Melanie Witkowski, Katie Geise
 
Kirk Young introduced Melanie Witkowski, Community Educator at the Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council since 2005. She has her MS in Education from Walden University and her BS in Elementary Education from SUNY Fredonia. She is a Credentialed Prevention Professional certified through the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services. She is on the Board of Directors for the Western New York Chemical Dependency Consortium and the Council on Addictions of New York State. She is on the governance board for Chautauqua Tapestry and is on the leaders Board for the Hope Chautauqua Coalition. She is a train the trainer of the Teen Intervene Brief Intervention Program and is trained to facilitate more than 8 different evidence-based Drug and Alcohol Prevention programs. She lives in Dunkirk; is married to Christopher Witkowski a Dunkirk Police Sergeant and they have two children, Ashton and Kearstin.
 
CASAC’s mission is to decrease the likelihood of initiation of any alcohol, tobacco and other drug use for youths ages 5-19 and increase adult alcohol, tobacco and other drug use education, skills and awareness by effective education of the community on positive life choices.
 
Youth prevention programs under the umbrella of evidence-based programs include Life Skills Training, Alcohol Literacy Challenge, Too Good Programs, Sport-Prevention + Wellness, and Keeping it Real.
 
Melanie presented a well-organized talk on alcohol and drug abuse in Chautauqua County that was sometimes disappointing, shocking and displeasing. But her presentation also included the explanations of many excellent programs prepared and presented by CASAC everywhere in Chautauqua County, not only for children and young people, but for adults as well.
 
PLEASE, PLEASE take a look at what is available on the CASAC website! In addition to all of the problems out there, CASAC offers many programs to help solve the problems.
 
Melanie offered many solutions to dealing with drug/alcohol abusers in the home such as lock boxes and demonstrated deactivation bags which are available for each of us to use to deactivate any drugs we may have in our medicine cabinets.
 
Remember that brains in women do not fully develop until age 25 and age 28 in men, therefore we need to protect and encourage young people from overusing drug and alcohol to avoid brain problems.
 
She also spoke to the legalization of marijuana – which she is sharply opposed to. The TCH levels in various marijuana differs so greatly and marijuana is fat soluble and therefore remains in the body for far longer than alcohol.
 
A fascinating presentation!
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