Pubdate: Thu, 30 Apr 2015
Source: Packet & Times (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Orillia Packet and Times
Author: Andrew Philips
Page: A5


Officer, teacher want video produced for students

A local OPP officer and a high school teacher are banding together to 
try to get funding for an anti-drug video.

Orillia OPP Const. Andrew MacDonald and Twin Lakes Secondary School 
drama teacher Leanne Young hope to secure funding for the 
drug-prevention initiative that would feature local students and use 
locales throughout the community along with other community members.

The pair, who asked Orillia Police Services Board members this week 
for some financial help, have approached two companies for quotes to 
film and edit the full production.

Orillia-based Knight Vision Video and Photo came back with a quote of 
$10,678.50, while Toronto's Stature Films' quote was $24,000, a 
difference Young said is likely related to Stature having "more 
experience in documentary style."

MacDonald said the video could make Orillia a pioneer in the local 
war on drugs and it could be used by other municipalities.

"Drugs are an issue for every community," he told board members. 
"Let's be a visionary. Let's have a proactive approach rather than a 
reactive approach."

MacDonald said a couple of doctors and Children's Aid Society 
representatives are already on board to be involved in the video with 
potential for involvement from other groups such as the Green Haven 
Shelter for Women.

Insp. Pat Morris, commander of the Orillia detachment, said he has 
seen what happens when communities don't buy into preventive measures.

"The consequences are massive," he said, noting steroids and 
marijuana use have become major issues.

The board directed executive assistant Kristine Preston to draft a 
report outlining funding options for the initiative, with a special 
board scheduled for next week to consider her findings.

Coun. Pat Hehn, chair of the board, said the video could be 
potentially made for free by approaching Georgian College's Centre 
for Social Entrepreneurship.

But Young said neither she nor some of the students, who have 
committed to being involved, will be at the school next semester when 
Georgian students could be involved.

Mayor Steve Clarke, who also sits on the board, wondered a bout as 
king neighbouring municipalities for help in funding the video since 
they would also benefit.

MacDonald, who regularly visits city high schools to speak to 
students, said the numbers of students who have tried or plan to try 
drugs is staggering.

According to MacDonald, 35% to 40 % of Grade 9 boys and 45% to 50 % 
of Grade 10 boys would try some kind of drug such as marijuana, 
steroids and alcohol. The figures are about 20% lower in each 
category for girls.

MacDonald said the numbers are particularly disconcerting when one 
considers that young male brains are still developing.

"It concerns me because I like (the students)," he said. "I really 
want to connect with them."

Young said students, nowadays, are open about sharing their 
experiences. She said a recent survey of about 300 students 
representing all grades at the school found 68% would try drugs at least once.

"That scares me as a parent," said Young, who has been teaching for 18 years.

"The openness of the use of drugs has changed. Kids are not afraid of 
saying to a teacher or administrator, ' I got high last night.' They 
don't care. They're not scared. They don't think of the consequences."
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom