Herbert eager to heighten substance-free initiatives

A new face is heading the local Substance Abuse Program—and he can’t wait to help people steer clear of drugs and alcohol.
Brad Herbert signed on as the new SAP co-ordinator last month, taking over from Kelly Olson.
Having sat on the SAP committee for three years, Herbert said he was already familiar with the organization, which runs everything from safe ride initiatives to designated driver campaigns.
It also helps fund the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program in schools.
“I’m excited and happy. I want to get things rolling,” Herbert said Monday.
Before joining SAP, Herbert was the healing and wellness youth support worker at the United Native Friendship Centre in Fort Frances. He also spent four years as a rehabilitation counsellor at IVIK Youth Services, a young offenders’ open custody facility here.
From his past work experiences, he knows firsthand how big an issue substance abuse is in this district.
“I would rate it very high as a problem in this district, right from youth to the elderly,” he remarked. “It’s not just young people doing it. There are older people addicted to prescription medications, as well.”
One of Herbert’s first orders of business has been to handle the moving of the SAP office from Emo OPP detachment to the Northwestern Heath Unit in Fort Frances.
He said his chief aim as the new SAP co-ordinator is to promote activities not dependent on drugs or alcohol.
“We want to offer the district a different alternative to partying, drugs, and alcohol,” he explained. “It’s okay not to drink, there are other activities in the district.”
An example of offering alternatives is the “mocktail” bar.
“We’re bringing the ‘mocktails’ back. Several of the [Ontario Students Against Impaired Driving] kids from the high school will be at the bass tournament next week,” Herbert noted.
The group will spend six days serving the non-alcoholic drinks to those on hand for the derby.
“They’re just to promote safe and responsible drinking and offer people an alternative to alcohol.”