A community-organized group is working to combat drug use in Marshall County

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- A group is working toward creating change throughout Marshall County. It started with an idea to raise awareness of the dangers of drug abuse, and the community took hold of the efforts.

"We're forming what's called LifeWatch United. That is a community group, not just based off of one person, a community of people coming together concerned about the community and what we're dealing with in the community as far as drugs," Program Coordinator Jon Henderson says.

Henderson says as in other surrounding counties, drug use is an issue in Marshall County. The goal for LifeWatch United is to discuss, educate, and talk about solutions. "Right now we've started with parents. We want to start with parents first," Henderson explains, "We believe if we can reach the parents and get help with the parents and make them aware of what's going on, then that will trickle down into the home."

The plan is to reach into schools across the county, educating and discussing the dangers of drug use. Parents and the community are invited to the meetings, to learn and discuss a variety of topics relating to the issue.

The program started this year and it's a community effort -- from residents, to parents, to school staff, to law enforcement. "Drug agents from Marshall County have been at every meeting, so it's just like we do in Marshall County - when we see a need, a problem, we come together, and we tackle the problem," says program member Mark Brickey.

"Our ultimate goal is to have our drug stats, whatever they may be right now, cut in half," says Henderson, "For Marshall County to be known as a place that's not going to put up with drug abuse anymore."

A LifeWatch United meeting is scheduled for next Monday, August 29 at Guntersville High School. Everyone who wants to attend is welcome. It will start at 7:00 p.m.