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Drug Awareness Week leaves an impact

A Drug Awareness Week held at the high school led many students and staff with a better knowledge of the drug epidemic.

Drug+Awareness+Week+schedule.
Drug Awareness Week schedule.

Drug Awareness Week schedule.

Drug Awareness Week schedule.

Michael Tenney, Staff Writer

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With an array of unique activities filling up the week for students to participate in, many students found new information on what it means to live in the epidemic of a drug problem.

Drug Awareness week occurs at Biddeford High School once a year. The week allows students to see what a life with drugs is like and what they can do to get help or prevent themselves from going further. The school’s resource officer Paul Rondeau feels the program helps the students tremendously.

“I think it’s having an awesome effect [on the school and community],” said Rondeau. “Information is power. Getting the information out there has been a huge tool.”

The program started from The Biddeford-Saco Rotary Club. As the drug epidemic became a lot bigger in the community, Rondeau feels that is when they stepped in to help.

“[Director of the Rotary Club Jim Godbout] realized that there’s a problem that we don’t seem to be able to do enough about,” said Rondeau. “The epidemic that’s going on, that just recently arose a few years ago, he [Godbout] just took the bulls by the horns.”

For junior Adrianna Jordan, Drug Awareness Week plays a very important role at Biddeford High School. She feels the program benefited a lot of students and helped them, and herself, learn more about the epidemic.

I feel it’s very important for staff and students to be aware of how much drugs affect people and how often people do them,”

— Adrianna Jordan

I feel it’s very important for staff and students to be aware of how much drugs affect people and how often people do them, said Jordan. “I feel with Drug Awareness Week, it brings in a reality check that this is something serious.”

Jordan participated in a ‘healthy high’ activity with the Be the Change club. This allowed students to participate in activities that would get them excited and have fun. Some of the activities included scavenger hunts, puzzles, bingo, and soccer.

“They [the Rotary Club] approached us [the Be the Change club] about hosting a ‘healthy high’ activity in substitution for substance abuse,” said Jordan. “So instead of smoking a joint, you can do other things that will give you a natural high.”

The activity itself was quite successful, Jordan said. In fact, some students told her they should do the activities more often.

“A lot of people showed up and participated in it,” said Jordan. “It was great because not a lot of students do things like that. It came out really well, and we got a lot of great reviews on it. A lot of students were saying we should do it once a month now; which I think would really benefit the school in getting everyone active and involved.”

Other students and staff partook in activities to help students learn more about drug awareness. Health teacher Teri Schang dedicated some of her class time to drug awareness by holding a game of Jeopardy that highlighted the legal consequences of drug use.

Adrianna Jordan

“It’s called ‘Juvenile Justice Jeopardy,’” said Schang. “It’s not me really running it. I have two Biddeford Correctional Officers run it and help answer the questions because they’re more knowledgeable in the law enforcement area than I am.”

The assembly that caught a lot of students eyes showed the progression that can happen with drug use.

“The way that they presented it [the skit about Drug Awareness] wasn’t just one of these assemblies where [they say], ‘Oh, we’re going to tell you don’t do drugs and don’t drink,’” said Rondeau. “They made a wonderful skit out of it. It started with the very beginning of alcohol and marijuana use, and it gradually increased in intensity.”

Rondeau feels that this assembly greatly benefited all of the students. He said it wasn’t just a ‘don’t do drugs’ type of assembly, it showed what drugs can actually do to someone.

“I think they [the students] were able to relate,” said Rondeau. “For that actual assembly, they were able to relate because of the way it was presented to the kids.”

Jordan agrees with Rondeau, learning a lot from it that she did not know before.

“With the skits, I was kind of skeptical of it but I learned so much from them,” said Jordan. “It was tied together with learning and funny things. I thought it was really good to see it from the eyes of an actual addict.”

With Drug Awareness Week over, Rondeau said the impact of the program leads some students to seek help for themselves.

“I can tell you that there has been and continues to be an impact on getting people help that didn’t realize there were sources there [for them] prior to this program,” Rondeau said.

Rondeau believes that the epidemic is a serious problem within the community. It is something that will take many minds and people to create change.
“It [the program] wasn’t something that I thought of for sure,” said Rondeau. “This is something much bigger than I.”

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The student news site of Biddeford High School in Biddeford, Maine
Drug Awareness Week leaves an impact