CORVALLIS - A former student president of Oregon Student Safety On the Move, now a key official in the Bush administration's war on drugs, will return to Oregon as keynote speaker at a benefit banquet and auction for OSSOM.

John Horton's appearance will give a boost to the fund-raising efforts of the group, now known as Operation Student Safety On the Move, which is headquartered at Oregon State University.

The banquet and fund-raising auction will be held on Saturday, Sept. 7, at the CH2M-HILL Alumni Center on the OSU campus beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are available for $50 by calling OSSOM at 1-800-678-7956, or 737-2387.

Horton is the associate deputy director for state and local affairs with the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Before accepting that post, he was a prosecutor for five years in the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office in Portland, where he also was Special Assistant U.S. Attorney. He prosecuted or assisted on thousands of cases, including Oregon's first conviction for homicide against a drug dealer after a drug user died from an overdose.

Horton also helped write or revise several Oregon laws, including a felony drunk driving law. In the mid-1980s, he served on then-Oregon Gov. Vic Atiyeh's advisory committee on drunk driving, and was student president of OSSOM - a youth safety organization that is focused on the prevention of teen drinking, drug use, suicides and accidents, as well as promotes leadership and peer education.

His talk is titled "The President's National Drug Control Strategy: What the Leaders of Tomorrow Can Do About it Today."

OSSOM is a network of more than 2,500 young leaders in Oregon whose outreach efforts touch thousands of teens each year, according to Debra Slover, who directs the program.

"Empowering teens to work with their peers and promote safe, healthy and legal behaviors is not only rewarding," Slover said, "it is remarkably effective."

Persons interested in donating auction items, attending the banquet-auction, or supporting the program should call 1-800-678-7956.  

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