Pubdate: Fri, 16 Mar 2007
Source: Western Star, The (CN NF)
Copyright: 2007 The Western Star
Author: Cory Hurley


Corner Brook - High school student Shaundel Leamon believes drugs and
alcohol are problems with today's youth, and that awareness can help
save lives.

Leamon was one of the Corner Brook high school students subjected to
Mind Control - MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Canada's assembly
show tour - on Thursday. She is actually the school's spokesperson for
the SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) chapter.

"In this school in particular there are unfortunately a lot of cases
where people get drunk underage or do illegal drugs," Leamon told The
Western Star following the first of two multi-media presentations in
the school gymnasium.

"At semi-formal dances, we have to have the teachers at the doors and
it gets to the point where they sometimes have to check everyone for

"That is really, really unfortunate because we are 16-, 17- and
18-year-old people, and we are all underage. We should be able to have
a fun time without the influence of alcohol or anything else."

Leamon believes there is a media persona throughout the world
depicting a positive image of alcohol and drugs, and that youth want
to be "cool" like that too.

The Level 3 student also shuns the designation of the so-called
"smoker's corner" outside of school. She said the use of all drugs and
alcohol can wreck lives.

"Everyone here is underage and they should not have access to tobacco
products and stuff like that," Leamon said. "It is really unfortunate
they do because their lives are going to be 'majorly' influenced if
they end up with a criminal record.

"They do have the chance to turn their lives around and hopefully this
presentation helps with that and shows them they have that chance.
Because it can get too late, and you can get in so deep that there is
no turning back ... Once you are mature enough to realize you have a
problem with drugs or alcohol and want to turn your life around, then
that's the point where you get the courage to do it. You will make
your life better and the lives of those around you better too."

Leamon feels the visually appealing presentation on Thursday helped
reinforce the message that SADD representatives have given to their
fellow students through earlier events such as White Out Day. She
believes the effort does make a difference.

Mind Control brings a high-energy, multi-media drug and alcohol
awareness and risk prevention message to youth. In a flood of
fast-paced, powerful imagery; the show features poignant stories of
young people viewed on three giant screens.

"When you come into a school and speak to all the students, the hope
is that the students leave with a better understanding of the
consequences of impaired driving and are able to apply that
information to them and their friends," Ian Baker, MADD Canada
representative said. "Hopefully, in the future, that will prevent them
from ever putting themselves in that position or driving under the

"The ultimate hope is that we can decrease the number of deaths in
Canada by impaired crashes from four a day to zero.

"But, if one or two kids leave today with the message and it has
impacted them, and they go and tell two friends and their friends tell
some friends than the work is done."
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