By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
The Bridge, an organization dedicated to communicating the dangers of drugs, is making some of its first visits to local schools this year. Scott Elam, board president, and Reba Terry, executive …
The Bridge, an organization dedicated to communicating the dangers of drugs, is making some of its first visits to local schools this year.
Scott Elam, board president, and Reba Terry, executive director, recently visited physical education classes at Lake Forest Middle School and Walker Valley High School to speak to students.
“We are trying to arm the kids with the information they need to make good decisions,” Elam said.
Much of their talk centered around opioid drugs, because of their prevalence. The class of drug known as opioids includes prescription painkillers, which can be found in the medicine cabinets of many.
Terry explained that many students who give in to the temptation of drug use are not getting them from dealers on the street. Rather, they take drugs from their relatives’ medicine cabinets.
Elam gave the students a presentation which spoke about what opioids are and how they affect the human body. They also heard stories of those whose lives were ruined by addiction and overdoses.
He issued the students a challenge to help them "save the lives of other kids." He told them to ask their parents if they will dispose of or lock up their prescription medications.
Students also got the chance to ask questions, and there was no shortage of them. Questions were about everything from the effects of tobacco use to whether using marijuana is safer than using opioids.
Elam was quick to tell the students about the dangerous effects of tobacco use. He added that marijuana can also be quite dangerous, because drug dealers have been known to mix it with other drugs, like the opioid Fentanyl.
“We can’t say they don’t know about drugs already,” Elam said. “Even on the middle school level, they are able to ask a lot of questions. But there is a lot of misinformation out there."
Terry said students have for many years been told not to do drugs. While such presentations are positive, she also noted youth tend to have a lot of questions about drug use.
The Bridge's view is that, if they can clear up students' questions and have frank conversations about the dangers that are out there, more students will make educated decisions to avoid drugs.
"We are doing these presentations as prevention, to help these students stay safe and reach their potential," said Terry. "We also stress to our older students that they are serving as role models to the younger ones."
The Bridge is making its presentation available to any local secondary school teacher who requests it. Terry said she hopes more local children will get the chance to learn about dangers of drug of use.
For more information on The Bridge and its efforts, visit its new website, ATSTheBridge.org.
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