Night focuses on prayer, drug issues

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – The city’s faith community came together at Thompson High School’s Performing Arts Center on the night of May 8 for a Wednesday night service a little different from what they were used to.

The “For Tomorrow” group, which is Alabaster’s prevention team organized through the efforts of the Compact 2020 initiative, held a night of worship mixed with some sobering, but accurate, information about drug issues facing the community.

After Jen Matthews and Becca Poe with Cultivate Church opened up the event by performing worship songs, Compact 2020 Executive Director and Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force Commander Clay Hammac shared drug trends law enforcement has been encountering in Alabaster and Shelby County.

“For Tomorrow is here to help educate us on the needs of our community and empower us on what to do,” said Cultivate Church Lead Team Pastor Brandon Matthews. “We stand here tonight and embrace the fact that we have some issues ahead of us, but we know that Jesus is the answer.”

The event drew members and leaders from multiple area churches, Alabaster City Schools leaders and city officials, and was an effort to galvanize multiple segments of the community to tackle drug issues, particularly among youth, Hammac said.

“I hope what I share with you tonight will equip you to walk alongside us to address this problem,” Hammac said. “We have to make time at the dinner table to talk with our kids. We have to have these uncomfortable conversations with our kids.”

Hammac said marijuana is the “biggest threat our young people face today,” because it often leads to other, more serious, forms of drug use and abuse.

“Our young adults are being bombarded with messages from every direction saying this is OK. People who have a lot of money to make on our young people are the ones sharing that message,” Hammac said. “We need to be the single source of authoritative information to tell our young adults that this is not safe.”

Hammac said law enforcement has seen a rise in the use of high-THC marijuana wax, synthetic marijuana, vaping and prescription drug abuse among teens, and said parents ultimately must be involved in their children’s lives to put an end to it.

“We can’t legislate our way out of trouble, we have to be proactive,” Hammac said.

To learn more about For Tomorrow, which holds regular community meetings at Alabaster City Hall, visit Facebook.com/events/281310212772305/.