Pubdate: Wed, 02 Nov 2005
Source: Huntsville Times (AL)
Copyright: 2005 The Huntsville Times
Author: Gregg L. Parker


Liberty Students Portray Victims Of Drug, Alcohol Abuse

The sobering truth of addiction's effect in America was evident during
Red Ribbon Week at Liberty Middle School. "Dead Day" on Oct. 28 nailed
the consequences of alcohol and drugs.

Counselor Stephanie L. Goglin formulated the idea of Dead Day with
students leaving their classes and returning "dead" at five-minute
intervals, like actual deaths occurring across the United States.

Goglin's search for statistics began in September but final organizing
happened the week before Dead Day. "I wanted to do something that
might truly have an impact on the students, so I wanted to get as many
students involved as possible," she said. Goglin witnessed a similar
activity while teaching at Hewitt-Trussville Junior High before she
joined Liberty's faculty.

Across the United States, approximately 85,000 people are involved in
alcohol-related deaths and about 17,000 in drug-related deaths each
year, she said. "Mathematically, that averages to about 279 people
across the United States involved in alcohol-or drug-related deaths
per day - approximately 12 per hour or one person every five minutes,"
Goglin said.

Instead of cigarette smoking, Liberty's focus during Red Ribbon Week
centers more on drugs and alcohol. Goglin said the drugs include
marijuana, ecstasy and crystal methamphetamine, along with
prescription medications such as Lortab and Lorcet.

Student attire for Dead Day, of course, was black - shirts, pants,
shoes and socks. "They also had their faces painted white with their
eyes done in black," Goglin said. "Their appearance was meant to have
the effect of making them sort of 'disappear' - or appear 'dead.' "

On Dead Day, each student was assigned a specific time during the
school day. "One student quietly got up from class every five minutes
throughout the day, changed into all black clothing, had their face
painted by the drama students and then quietly returned to class," she

After returning to class "dead," the students weren't allowed to speak
or participate in class for the remainder of the school day.

Conducting an event like "Dead Day" is pertinent to adolescents'
lives, Goglin said. "I definitely see addiction as a middle school
problem. I believe at this age level if even one student becomes
addicted, then it's a problem."

For adolescents, the drug of choice is marijuana, probably due to
accessibility. "In my opinion, I'd say the inclination to addictive
substances (involves) peer pressure, poverty, abusive families and
boredom. Just plain, old curiosity gets some of them, I'm sure,"
Goglin said.

Goglin is working as counselor for the first time this year. She
taught math at the seventh through ninth grade level for 11 years.

For information on the program, call 430-0001. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: SHeath(DPFFlorida)