Kudos to Pennsbury for taking the all-important step of forming a “ground level” task force to combat opioid/drug abuse. The impetus for the task force was the drug overdose death of a former Pennsbury student, whose addiction began as a high school student, the family said.

Speakers at Wednesday’s public meeting included Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick, School Board President Jacqueline Redner, State Representatives Perry Warren and John Galloway, and Bucks County Deputy District Attorney Tom Gannon.

While Pennsbury has an active drug abuse prevention program the district is reevaluating its effort and resources after meeting with the family of the former student at a recent school board meeting, according to School Superintendent William Gretzula.

State Rep. Galloway said he advocates a joint effort to deal with the problem – legislation, law enforcement and the active engagement of the public. The latter being vital, according to all the speakers.

The district plans to form a 25-member task force of administrators, counselors, psychologists and more to review the district’s current mental health curriculum and also offer staff training to recognize signs of possible drug abuse in at-risk students. Mental health also will be at the forefront, according to Redner, who addressed root causes of drug addiction and how the district will explore ways to deal with those issues.

Thursday afternoon, Redner spoke with WBCB’s News Director Charlotte Reese about where the plan will go as the school year begins in less than a week.

“There’s a problem here (Pennsbury) and if we don’t get ahold of it now more kids are going to die,” Redner said during the interview, “and this is not something I want to see happen anymore.”

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