Pubdate: Fri, 11 Apr 2008
Source: Niagara This Week (CN ON)
Copyright: 2008 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Bookmark: (Youth)


To win the race against drugs, children need a head start.

That's why police and community agencies across the country hold the
annual Racing Against Drugs event, an engaging set of activities for
Grade 5 students, educating them on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

The Niagara Region will be taking part from April 14-18, with agencies
including the Niagara Regional Police, regional public health and the
District School Board of Niagara, as well as several others,
participating. The Optimist Club in Niagara Falls will be transformed
with a race day atmosphere, complete with a 1:24 scale slot car track,
banners, checkered flags, race cars and sound effects.

About 1,500 students from across the region will visit the track
during the four-day period, racing the track and moving from pit stop
to pit stop, where different work stations teach them about safety
topics ranging from the Internet to youth gambling.

"It's a very dynamic and very high-energy scenario for them," said NRP
Sgt. Neal Orlando, commander of the community services unit. "They get
excellent drug information and excellent healthy lifestyle

Because space is limited and interest in the event is so high, a
lottery must be held to decide which schools can send their Grade 5
classes, said Orlando. For the lucky students that do get to attend,
Orlando said it is a great first step towards ensuring the children
know the risks of drug use and other unhealthy behaviour.

"Our goal is to target as many kids as we can as often as we can so we
can teach them about drugs and hope they come away with a desire to
live a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their lives," he said.

Racing Against Drugs originated in London and was created by the
city's Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment. This is the 10th year
that Niagara is participating.

Other pit stops include rail crossing safety, fire safety, youth gangs
and tobacco and alcohol awareness.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek