A Jewell School Board member has launched plans to create a countywide school committee to combat methamphetamine use.

Ann Samuelson, of Jewell, said a committee with representation from each school board could make a stand "much more powerful" than any board could do individually.

While she doesn't know exactly what the group would cover, she hopes it would eventually establish a standard prevention program and offer community education.

"I think it would be pretty powerful if the school boards made a decision to take a stand," she said, noting that the Jewell School Board last month adopted a resolution to "take a stand against meth" in the community.

She has spoken with school board members in Astoria, Knappa and Seaside. The Seaside School Board approved a resolution similar to Jewell's on Monday. She also spoke with community members, including judges and police officers, at a recent meeting to discuss a possible summit on drug abuse in Clatsop County.

"I think the idea is to draw attention to what is becoming a huge problem in the county," said Warrenton-Hammond School District Superintendent Craig Brewington, who was present when Samuelson spoke at the meeting. "We suspect that we have a number of students who use meth... But I don't know that we're very knowledgeable of what to look for.

"And when I listen to (District Attorney) Josh Marquis, and I listen to the sheriff and some of the judges, it becomes very clear in my mind that those folks are spending a huge amount of their time and energy dealing with people on meth and the problems they cause."

Samuelson said a countywide stand against meth is increasingly necessary, "because kids are pretty mobile now and families are more mobile in general." Meth use is more difficult to detect than many other drugs, she said, but education can help keep children off drugs.

"We can take a stand against it together and run the same types of prevention programs," she said. "I don't want to be reactive. Let's be proactive.

"This is a county that cares about kids. We always have, but we have to come together. That way we'll have more power."

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