When other students deliver the message, it adds a level of credibility, he said.
A Pelham program, if funded, also might engage students in nearby communities, including Salem and Windham, Lecaroz said.
The death of a former Pelham student from a drug overdose out of state prompted Lynde to organize the anti-drug effort. Lynde said about 100 people attended the community forum. Pelham should be pleased with that turnout, Dover’s Mitchell said.
“When you get 100 parents to come out and talk about something that is a very positive sign for moving forward,” Mitchell said.
The chairman of the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Intervention and Treatment also was pleased by what he’s seeing and hearing in Pelham.
Timothy Rourke of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation said it was impressive to see so many parents and community leaders turn out for the forum.
Many communities get what Rourke describes as “the choir,” a few attendees who realize there is a problem.
“I think for a lot of communities, recognizing there is a problem around drugs and alcohol is a difficult first step,” Rourke said.
But in Pelham he said he’s seen both in the number of people and what they’ve had to say that they have been affected by the issue.
Rourke said he agrees with Lynde that the community forum was just the start.
“I think he’s absolutely right,” Rourke said. “This is a complicated issue and requires a lengthy, deep commitment.”
For Pelham to be pursuing a grant is a very good sign, he said.
“They are seeing this as the beginning,” Rourke said.