Pubdate: Sat, 28 Oct 2006
Source: Times-Herald (GA)
Copyright: 2006 The Times-Herald
Author: Cameron Johnson


It's Red Ribbon Week, and at Evans Middle School Friday, narcotics 
investigators with the Newnan-Coweta Crime Suppression Unit showed 
students slides depicting the harmful effects of drug abuse, while an 
Alliance for Children's Enrichment representative encouraged children 
to stay away from drugs.

It's all a part of the new "YIELD" program, which stands for Youth 
Involved and Educated to Live Drug Free, and it's this new 
partnership between the CSU and ACE that is working to reach children 
at the age known to be when they begin to try marijuana and 
prescription pills -- 13, according to Narcotics Investigator Todd 
Lengsfeld. The national average for a person's first drink is 12.

Lengsfeld, with fellow Newnan Narcotics Investigator Denver Atwood, 
showed slides of children affected by the neglect of drug-addled 
parents, as well as pictures of the officers suited up to enter a 
house with machine guns.

"Fifty percent of the kids at Newnan High School have used drugs," 
said ACE representative Carol Prince. "And some of you raised your 
hands when asked if you have brothers or sisters who use drugs."

Prince then asked them to sound off if they were going to stay away 
from drugs, and the kids responded.

Prince introduced a 34-year-old man who is going through the 
Substance Abuse Treatment Option Plan (STOP). The speaker explained 
that he went to Evans, and beginning earlier this year he is starting 
his life over. This time, he said, he's doing it without drugs.

Following the presentation, students spoke with the officers, as well 
as with Prince. After that, they spoke about the new program and the 
new partnership.

The targets of this program are middle and high school students, said 
Prince. To have this program set up at other schools, the 
administrators should simply call them.

Newnan Police Chief Douglas "Buster" Meadows is behind this program, 
said Lengsfeld, and has given the investigators the time and funding 
to carry it to as many schools in the area that ask for it.

The jails, said Lengsfeld, are just not solving the drug problem. 
It's an endless cycle of drug abuse -- abuse, jail, and out again. 
This program is designed to reach young people before that cycle 
starts, he said, and to convince them to stay drug-free.

Red Ribbon Week is a time many communities encourage kids to either 
become or remain drug-free. Its origin is in commemorating the death 
of a DEA agent who was killed while working undercover in Mexico.

In the coming months, the YIELD program will hold a panel discussion 
with a doctor, law enforcement officers and treatment specialists. 
Parents will be invited to attend and can ask questions. Educating 
parents is a large part of the process, said Lengsfeld -- teaching 
them what to look for and how to speak to their children about the topic.
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