Pubdate: Thu, 02 May 2002
Source: Times Daily (AL)
Contact:  2002 Times Daily
Author: Lisa Singleton-Rickman
Bookmark: (Youth)


Mike Reese does more than tell teens about the dangers of alcohol and 
drugs. He shows them.

Not a student stirred for more than an hour Wednesday as juniors and 
seniors from Wilson and Central high schools watched Reese's 
multimedia presentation.

An agent with the narcotics division of the Alabama Beverage Control 
board in Gadsden, Reese travels the state as part of Operation Save 
Teens. He spoke Wednesday at Wilson High School and Cloverdale Junior 

His information was pointed. It was factual. It was taken from actual 
drug and alcohol overdose cases in Alabama.

The program has become a personal mission for Reese, who said he 
started the project for the sake of his own three children. Soon, he 
found himself taking the message all over the state.

It's the story of teens who made bad choices. Most of them ended up dead.

"I guarantee you if these kids were alive today, they'd tell you they 
would never have taken the first Oxycontin pill. Ecstasy or 
methamphetamine would never have been considered," Reese said.

He also talked to students about the drug GHB, commonly referred to 
as G and used often by the perpetrators of date rape. When used in 
combination with other drugs, Gama Butyl Lactone can be deadly.

Reese showed a home video of a teen-aged girl on vacation at the 
beach with no adult chaperones.

The tape shows the girl telling her videographer about her night's 
plans to get high on G to celebrate her last night to party.

She didn't know her words would be so prophetic.

Her friends also were taking drugs, and one simply kept filming while 
the girl slipped into a coma. The film picks up voices of teens in 
the background laughing and partying around a dying girl.

They even filmed her death rattle as her mouth began to foam.

"These were her friends, people," said Reese. "This is how your 
friends act when you all get high together. This is how much they 
care about you."

Reese told the students that the world has always forced kids to make choices.

"Unfortunately, today's choice has to be about living or dying," 
Reese said. "This year I've worked eight drug-related student deaths. 
I also have to talk to these kids' parents. They always show me 
pictures of their child very much alive, but I'm seeing them dead."

He warned the students that there is no way to know what dosage or 
combination of drugs could kill you. He said it varies from person to 
person and drug to drug.

"Even what you ate the night before and how much rest you got are 
factors in how you will react to a drug," he said.

He told about a concert in Birmingham last weekend when one teen-ager 
died from a drug overdose at a Widespread Panic concert. Another teen 
died after the concert when she hung herself while high on drugs.

Reese also spoke from personal experience. He told the students about 
his brother, a methamphetamine addict. He said his brother has been 
in and out of rehabilitation programs.

"He's 44 years old, and he's an addict. I've arrested him myself." 
Reese said. "Today while I'm here, he's back in Calhoun County 
probably doing meth."

The students also saw footage of a heroin overdose survivor. Once a 
vibrant, handsome high school student, he is now confined to a 
wheelchair and is having to re-learn how to talk.

Central High School senior Misty White said she wishes all area high 
schools could see the presentation.

"It really got to me," she said. "I have an uncle who overdosed and 
died about three years ago, and I know the pain drugs and alcohol 
causes in a family."

Killen resident Denny Kimbrel can identify with the pain families 
suffer because of drugs. His 31-year-old son, Darryl, was killed 
while driving on Cox Creek Parkway in 1999 by a man who was later 
convicted of murder because he was driving under the influence of 
alcohol and drugs.

"I can tell you young people, your parents will never get over losing 
you," he said.

The public is invited to a similar, full-scale presentation Monday, 
May 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Deshler High School auditorium.


- - What: Operation Save Teens community presentation

- - When: 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 20

- - Where: Deshler High School auditorium, Tuscumbia

- - Presented by: Narcotics division of the Alabama Beverage Control board
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