By TOBEY SCHMIDT

REPORTER

On the topic of drug awareness, but unrelated to the Opioid Task Force, professional basketball player Damen Bell-Holter recently came to town to teach basketball and speak to local kids about the drug issue.

Bell-Holter grew up in Hydaburg, Alaska, where the population is even smaller than Skagway.

“A lot of these communities, there’s not a lot to do,” he said. “It’s tough to find an outlet and avoid, you know, the small mind concept of ‘this is kind of it.’”

After playing basketball in college, Bell-Holter has spent most of his professional career playing abroad. He just got back from four years spent in Italy.

He thinks it’s important to talk to kids from small towns to show them that there is more out there for them to see.

“Kids grow up seeing alcoholism and drug abuse and everything, and you know, so they get caught up thinking, ‘this is natural, this is normal,’ so that’s my biggest thing is trying to get them past that and find ways to make sure they stay off of that track,” Bell-Holter said.