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Prevention Empowerment Partnership to host teen prevention summit

The Prevention Empowerment Partnership (PEP), an initiative of the Marshall University Research Corporation, will host a two-day Teen Drug Prevention Summit for middle and high school students aimed at reducing critical substance use issues in Cabell County.

The Prevention Empowerment Partnership, known as PEP, is a collaborative committee of community-based organizations and community leaders that partner to increase access to prevention services for youth and families in Cabell County and throughout the state of West Virginia where appropriate. It is the overall prevention steering committee for all non-duplicated substance use prevention in Cabell County.

PEP will host a Teen Drug Prevention Summit on Wednesday, Sept. 14, for middle school students and on Thursday, Sept. 15, for high school students. Students from Cabell County middle and high schools, as well as area private middle and high schools, are invited to send teams to participate.

This year, PEP will partner with the SAFE (Stop the Addiction Fatality Epidemic) Project to provide students with training and lessons focused on reducing substance use. The SAFE Project is a national nonprofit organization geared toward contributing in a tangible way to overcoming the addiction epidemic and connected mental health challenges in the United States. SAFE Choices is the youth and young adult-centered body of work within the SAFE Communities Initiative of the SAFE Project.

Ronna Yablonski, senior director of SAFE Choices, will be part of the program.

“I’m honored to be a key collaborator with the Prevention Empowerment Partnership (PEP) during their two-day Teen Summit to provide training on SAFE Project’s No Shame Education Program,” said Yablonski. “SAFE Project launched the No Shame Pledge in 2020 to provide large-scale stigma reduction education while communicating a clear message that there is NO shame in asking for and seeking help for substance use and mental health challenges. The No Shame Education Program increases individual understanding of the principles presented in the pledge and gives youth the tools to advocate, stand up and speak out against stigma.”

Training will be held from 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Don Morris Room in the Memorial Student Center on Marshall University’s Huntington campus, on Sept. 14 for middle schools and Sept. 15 for high schools. The training aims to engage young people in contributing to the development of safe, healthy and drug-free communities.

“We are excited to host the Teen Drug Prevention Summit again this year and to be working with SAFE to provide youth with tools to help them make and support positive choices for themselves and their peers,” said Angela Saunders, director of PEP. “This summit is crucial to substance use prevention in Cabell County because it is not just two days of prevention material. It is encouraging the invited youth to become leaders in substance use prevention and will empower them to plan and facilitate prevention activities in their schools and communities throughout the year.”

For more information about PEP, please visit, or for specific information about the  Teen Drug Prevention Summit or e-mail Saunders at