The Buck Fifty

Using the experience of two individuals who created the Buck Fifty relay race to support drug free youth, this activity explores the role that average people can play to help rebuild their communities. Participants will discuss strategies to identify and respond to local needs in their region.

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Introduction: Mind Dump (10 Minutes)

  1. Before beginning the reading, ask the audience to list at least three ideas in regards to how their community could be involved to promote drug awareness and prevention. Do community members need to have expertise in drug addiction to be effective community leaders? Challenge the audience to write down as many ideas and thoughts that they may have.
    1. You could challenge the audience by instructing them to at least write down 10-15 ideas.
    2. Allow the audience to list their ideas in any way (such as a list, concept map, drawing, etc.)


Engagement: General Discussion (30-40 Minutes)

  1. Once the 10 minutes is up, pass out the excerpt on the Buck 50. Ask if there are any volunteers that would like to read the passage out loud. If not, read the passage aloud for them as the facilitator.
  2. Once the excerpt has been read, use the following questions to help facilitate the discussion:
    1. What do you think about Chris and Dave’s efforts with the Buck 50? Do their efforts remind you of anything that is being done in your own community?
    2. What is likely to be the effect of community efforts such as the Buck 50 race?
    3. Do the efforts of Chris and Dave match any of the ideas you had originally written down in the beginning of the session? If not, what ideas did you have that were different from their efforts?
    4. Considering the different ideas generated during our discussion, and in reviewing the excerpt about the Buck 50, what do you see as viable efforts your could lead or participate in for your community?


Conclusion: Wrap-Up and Next Steps (10 Minutes)

  1. Announce that 15-minutes remain for the session.
  2. Summarize the main points of the discussion. What were some of the key takeaways? Were there any differences in opinions? Any controversies? Were any major points about devising solutions not addressed in the conversation?
  3. Wrap up the session by speaking about the manuscript, further efforts, additional resources, etc. Exchange contact information and continue further conversations if needed.


Reading: Excerpt from the Interview “The Buck Fifty”

The Buck Fifty is a 150-mile relay race where teams of runners wind through the hills of Ross County. The race supports eight Drug Free Clubs of America school chapters where students pledge to be held accountable for staying drug free throughout high school. When we first heard about this race, we were interested in understanding how a group of community members from Chillicothe came together to build the race and student programs. The follow is an excerpt of our interview with the organizers.

Interviewer: What motivated you to get involved in this work on a volunteer basis?

Dave: I felt like the negative story being told about Ross County nationally needed to be changed. I knew our teens needed a brighter future and as a father of two, I had to do something to help. We knew that to support our eight Drug Free Clubs of America Chapters we needed a sustainable funding source. The Buck Fifty could help us do that. We barely got by in the first year. Year two was equally as challenging, but our team would not back down from this challenge. We felt like we weren't going to sit around and we're not going to ask for anyone's permission. We went to the schools, and they said they needed DFCA. That was the only thing we needed to know, that we’ve got to figure out how to do this. Every dollar invested in prevention saves seven dollars in rehabilitation and criminal system costs.

Chris: The things we've done heighten awareness in the community, and for all ages. I know two people, including my father-in-law, who just had surgery but did not want to take opioids because of the heightened awareness. Now, four years ago in this community, if a doctor said to take it, I’d just take it. I was in Portsmouth when the things happened that Sam Quinones wrote about in Dreamland. My ex-wife worked at a doctor’s office in Portsmouth. I watched all the food, the vacations, everything that was going on with the doc at that time and I'm going “Something's not right.” Then a long time after that, you know I watched Proctor get busted down there. It's in the book. I was there. Well, lo and behold, my ex-wife who worked in this office, she was an addict. I didn't know it. She was taking thirty Percocet or whatever a day. Until I found prescription bottles with my name, her dad's name, her mom's name, and this all comes to a head. I got out. I tried to get her in rehab, work with her and everything. Years later she died. My friend’s son, a nineteen-year-old pizza delivery driver in Portsmouth, ended up getting murdered in a $100 drug deal. Those things fueled my passion.

Dave: I’m one-hundred percent Chris’s opposite on this. I have no addiction in my family. None. I fight because it’s wicked and I don't want it to hurt more people. I’ve seen how awful it is. Just looking around the room right now at Bob Evans in Chillicothe, I see someone my daughter's age sitting over here, he’s one of the kids I want to protect. That whole family over there is important to me. I went to high school with her. Their son is one of our first Drug Free Club ambassadors. Their younger son is a member now. We’re tied up in this community now. We want to end it.


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