Program targets dangers of drugs

Through the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, Seymour fifth-graders learn about the risks and consequences of drugs, tobacco and alcohol.

Beyond that, though, local officials say education needs to continue.

The week of Jan. 26 is National Drug Facts Week, and it will be an opportunity for Seymour High School students to learn more about the dangers of drugs.

“I think our D.A.R.E. program is really great, but it’s concentrated in the elementary school, so we don’t get a lot more exposure for the teenagers,” said Vicki Johnson-Poynter, vice president of nursing services at Schneck Medical Center.

“I think as kids get older, they are better equipped to handle facts rather than a fifth-grader,” she said. “This is really about giving accurate, fact-based information to teens and their parents.”

Johnson-Poynter is involved with the local Call to Action group, which consists of police, health care, court system, education and drug-free council representatives who want to help tackle the drug issue in Jackson County.

She had attended a meeting where National Drug Facts Week was discussed, and she learned it’s an annual event organized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to

help shatter the myths

about drugs.

She then went online

and found a lot of free or

inexpensive materials

were available.

“This is something that we just haven’t been taking advantage of, but now we know,” she said.

That week, students will be asked to make a pledge to be drug-free. The school plans to make a paper chain of

students’ commitments and hang it up.

Johnson-Poynter said she hopes to get some local businesses involved with donating coupons to hand out as rewards for the students, and a sponsor also is being sought to purchase rubber bracelets to hand out.

Drug facts also will be shared throughout the week at school through announcements and posters.

The week will end Jan. 30 with an evening event at the boys basketball game against Floyd Central. Along with it being homecoming, fans will be asked to wear red in support of not using drugs.

Fliers containing drug facts will be inserted into the game program, and tables will be set up in the gymnasium.

“It’s just to really be

informational,” Johnson-Poynter said. “Obviously,

the message is ‘Don’t use drugs,’ but it’s also to give people information that you just can’t play around with that and not suffer some consequences and here’s what could happen.”

Johnson-Poynter said Seymour Middle School also has expressed interest in getting involved by making announcements about drug facts that week.

Johnson-Poynter said she is excited about getting the national event started here.

It was decided to start with Seymour High School and see how that goes. In future years, she hopes to expand it to other county schools.

“Our big thing is to create a three-year plan of how we would run this event every year so we can keep getting bigger, keep involving more schools in the county,”

she said.

“It’s really going to benefit us to grow this because it has so much support, and it’s evidence-based where we can get the real information in a good way to put it out.”

On the Web

National Drug Facts Week is a national health observance for teenagers to promote local events that use National Institute on Drug Abuse science to shatter the myths about drugs.

For information, visit drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.