It’s 2013 and the teenage drug epidemic has reached an all-time high, according to the website Drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov run by the National Institute of Health. More than 1,400 high school students die each year from drug-related causes, based on its statistics. To counter this, numerous organizations and campaigns were established to warn teenagers of the effects of drugs and urge them to make good, responsible decisions.
One drug prevention campaign is Red Ribbon Week (this year, Oct. 21-29), the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. It aims to educate high school students on the effects of drugs and persuade students to live drug-free.
As president of Hewlett High School School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club, I, along with fellow members, organized a table in the main hallway this, where students had the opportunity to stop by and sign their name on a huge poster, pledging to be drug free. Overall, the event was a success; we had hundreds of signatures on the poster, which is currently hanging in the main hallway.
In addition to organizing the table, SADD also entered a contest, in which we submitted a short video. If we win, we will receive nationwide recognition, and the video would be aired on television. SADD members starred in the 30-second public service announcement, which was shot, edited, and directed by senior Nicholas Belluccia. The video aims to show teenagers that life doesn’t have a “rewind” button. A group of teenagers drink and take drugs, and then subsequently get into a car. Sirens, blinding white light, and the sounds of a car wreck are the next things heard and seen. The message: Make good choices; you can’t go back in time.
“I think that it is important that we celebrate Red Ribbon Week so that we raise public awareness and educate our students on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. It is one of our goals as Hewlett High School’s SADD club to educate our community and keep all students involved in the process,” said SADD faculty advisor, Sheryl Gordon.
It’s scary to think that classmates would harm themselves in such a way. By observing Red Ribbon Week, it served as the perfect opportunity to warn and educate students on how drugs could negatively and tragically affect them.
It is crucial to ask ourselves the following: What if someone we know becomes one of the 1,400 teens who die from drug-related causes? We must be proactive, not reactive. The ultimate goal is to ensure that we work together as a community to continue keeping classmates safe and away from drugs.
SADD strongly emphasizes and urges students to make good choices and be responsible. Teenagers aren’t invincible, so why would they do things and “experiment” with various drugs and substances which can ultimately lead to their demise? If we — not just as an afterschool club, but also as a school — can do anything at all to steer teens away from the path of drug abuse, it is our mission to help assist and guide teens to a clear, safe path.