Anti-drug programs growing

Published 10:29 pm Thursday, October 1, 2009

It may sound like a broken record, but it’s a message every generation needs to hear: Just say no to drugs.

In fact, “broken record” is one of nine strategies of dealing with peer pressure taught to students in local schools through the Too Good for Drugs program.

“Some of these kids would never fall into temptation, but I have some who might be led, and this could be the only chance they get to be taught how to refuse,” said Isabella teacher Wanda Chadwick.

Kimberly Martin, drug prevention instructor, said many students do not realize just how much drug and alcohol abuse can interfere with achieving one’s life goals.

Isabella sixth grader Ashton Taylor said that’s one thing the program taught her.

“I didn’t realize … one little thing can ruin a lot of stuff for you,” Taylor said.

Not only does the program teach the danger of harmful substances; it also aims to help students develop more effective ways of communicating.

For four years, Chilton County High School ninth and 10th graders have participated in a Too Good for Drugs and Violence program. The program’s coordinator, Zina Cartwell, also works with the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions chapter to get students involved in community service projects.

Cartwell is a drug prevention instructor with Chilton-Shelby Mental Health.

“Ninth and 10th graders are easy to reach because they haven’t gotten to the point where they have experimented with a lot of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs that are out there,” she said.

Last year the chapter did Operation Happy Socks, where they collected socks to give to seniors at Hatley Health Care. They also made “goody bags” and handed them out to youth groups with contact numbers to helpful organizations.

Participation in the SADD chapter has increased to about 90 members, Cartwell said.

Unfortunately, the anti-drug program at CCHS is not present in all the county’s high schools due to lack of funding. But as the program grows, its success becomes more evident.

“I think it’s doing a wonderful job,” Cartwell said.