Pubdate: Sat, 30 Oct 2010
Source: Suffolk News-Herald (VA)
Copyright: 2010 Suffolk News-Herald


Many a life has been brought down or cut short because of drugs, and
Suffolk Public Schools are doing what they can to influence students
against using illegal substances.

Schools in the system marked "Red Ribbon Week" this week with a
variety of lessons and activities designed to encourage kids to be

Elementary schools, especially, got into the act, allowing students to
dress in a variety of crazy outfits they may not have ordinarily been
permitted to wear. For example, students at Creekside wore their
shirts backwards to "turn their backs to drugs." At other schools,
students arrived in sweats because "being drug-free is no sweat."

Middle and high schools participated too, but it's especially
significant that the division's youngest students took part in the
activities and wrote essays on the importance of being drug-free. It's
well-known that children are at their most impressionable in their
younger years. Many of the students, perhaps, have family members or
others in their lives who have drug addictions. They may already be
hearing from older siblings or friends that using drugs is cool or

With these influences in their lives pulling them toward drugs, it is
important to counteract those pressures while the children are still
young. Silly activities, the participation of their friends and the
encouragement of their admired teachers can help pull them toward
being drug-free.

Just one week a year isn't enough, though. The school curriculums
should regularly incorporate the damaging effects of drugs into as
many places as possible.

Even more important than that, though, is the influence of parents and
other older family members. Children whose parents do drugs are more
likely to become addicted themselves, so family members can have a
positive influence on their youngsters by shunning drugs themselves
and having regular conversations with their kids about the dangers.

The next generation won't be able to tackle the challenges it faces
unless it remains drug-free.  
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