EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

September 17, 2013

Pelham selectman organizes response to drug abuse

Selectman rallies town against drugs

PELHAM — When word reached Pelham earlier this year that a graduate of the high school, a son of the town, had died from a drug overdose out of state, it shook Selectman Hal Lynde.

Discussion of the tragedy with his son, Zach, another Pelham High alumnus, brought home the reality that illegal drugs are around kids growing up in town.

“I was kind of shocked about it,” Lynde said. “I believe nobody in this town is fully aware of it.”

He said he felt compelled to make a difference.

Over the past few months, he has pulled together educators, police, social workers and others to form the Pelham Community Coalition as a response to substance abuse.

Its motto is: “Planting Foundations for Good Decisions.”

The coalition is behind a major anti-drug campaign formally kicking off Oct. 1.

Students will participate in activities throughout the day. A community forum will cap the day at Pelham High.

Lynde and other leaders spent Saturday at Old Home Day, spreading the word.

“The October event has got to be a start,” Lynde said.

“I don’t know where we are headed. There will be focus groups and a multidimensional approach to this problem,” he said. “We’ve got to go beyond this.”

Sandi Rubchinuk, coordinator with the Greater Rockingham County Regional Network Allies in Substance Abuse Prevention, is helping Lynde and other community leaders organize the event.

“There is substance abuse anywhere and everywhere you go, including Pelham and in our region,” Rubchinuk said.

She praises Pelham for what it’s trying to do about drug and alcohol abuse — and Lynde in particular.

“His was the first phone call I received about this,” she said.

She recalled how upset Lynde was by the drug-related death of the former Pelham resident.

“Hal really wanted to see something done,” she said.

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