The Carroll Meth Awareness Coalition is hosting their 11th annual Drug Awareness Summit on Oct. 20. The event will take place at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Carrollton, Ga., from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The community is welcome to attend the free event.

“The Drug Awareness Summit is an educational opportunity for people in the community,” said Pathways Center County Manager and Licensed Professional Counselor Dawn Allred. “We cover all drugs and alcohol as well as abuse and substance use disorder. Our primary focus is on prevention, enforcement, education and treatment.”

The year’s theme for the summit is “Recognition is the Key to Intervention.” With this theme in mind, the summit focuses on helping people recognize symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse.

“We talk about the impact drug use can have and how to educate the community and get more people involved,” said Allred. “It is to raise awareness and bring people together and provide education and information that may be helpful to them.”

The Carroll County community is not the only intended audience for the summit. According to Campus Safety Magazine, at least 50 percent of college student sexual assaults are associated with alcohol use.

“Drug abuse, alcohol abuse and sexual assault are the unspoken truths on college campuses,” said Allred. “One of the people that we have invited is Kennesaw State University because they have sober residence and a sober campus and it’s a real big push about providing sober areas and activities for students to be on so that they can stay in recovery while they are at college.”

The summit will feature a variety of professional counselors, addiction counselors, law enforcement personnel, health care professionals, business owners, people in recovery and more. Four speakers are scheduled to talk throughout the day.

“We try to find somebody who can talk about the law enforcement side and somebody who can speak about the treatment side,” said Allred. “This year, we have someone speaking about the work impact. What we are famous for, though, is our last speaker, who is usually a personal story.”

Officer Damon Morris will discuss recognizing new trends while Ken McGowan, director of Tanner’s Health System Engage Employee Assistance Program will talk about the program and recognizing symptoms. Omar Taveras, CEO of A Family Thing, Inc., will cover the pathways to recovery with recognition and treatment. Suzanne White, former substance abuser, will provide her personal testimony for the closing of the speeches.

Throughout the day, door prizes for gift cards, movie passes and various materials will take place. Two raffles for Apple watches will also occur.

“It is a great opportunity, especially if you are not from here, to learn about things in your neighborhood,” said Allred. “As a citizen of the community, it can bring awareness and try to find some understanding.”

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