Drug Prevention High School Student Club Meets with Lt Governor

SOS group with Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton.Jael Cobb reading introduction of SOS to Lieutenant Governor Jenean HamptonLandon Poe and Dalton LewisJosh SmithSOS group in capitol rotunda.SOS group outside capitol.

The Saving Our Students drug prevention club at Anderson County High School took a special field trip today to meet with Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton at the state capitol in Frankfort to discuss the growing drug epidemic in the both the school and county.  The club has been quickly growing and has caught the attention of the state government.

SOS was originally started in February of this year by the Anderson County Agency for Substance Abuse Policy Board and with support by Downtown Lawrenceburg KY.  The club attracted a handful of very passionate students who were concerned with the increasing drug abuse among their peers.

Receiving a $1485 grant from the Kentucky Youth Empowerment System, the club has been planning and continuing working on a large scale drug prevention project which will include a video and multiple public presentations.  Guided by AC-ASAP Coordinator Donna Crain Drury, Downtown Lawrenceburg KY writer Justin Silverman, and Sonia Spencer, the new organization has been growing rapidly this year with dozens more joining the club.

As part of their research and as a way to share their story, thirteen members of the group along with ACHS Principal Glass, Donna Drury, and Justin Silverman visited with Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton this morning.  Donna explained the purpose of the group and how they want to help the community to the lieutenant governor.  “They do want their work to be an impact on the community,” Donna said.

Jael Cobb, one of the student members, further explained their purpose.  “We are very concerned about the drug problem in our community and are trying to help as a youth coalition to educate people for prevention of more losses of lives and suffering of families. According to local law enforcement records, 470 drug related arrests were made last year in our very small community.  And what’s worse is numerous lives of teenagers and young adults have recently been lost to drug overdoses and bad batches of drugs,” she said.

Lieutenant Governor Jenean was very receptive and wanted to learn more about the drug problems facing high school students today.  The students agreed that tobacco, especially chewing tobacco, is used regularly by many students and leads to addictive traits.  Dalton Lewis, student president of the club, said that he has also seen considerable marijuana use, particularly as a way for students to cope with hard times.  Landon Poe also shared that his brother had overdosed on heroine earlier in the year.

Another student, T.J. Brown asked the lieutenant governor a number of questions, starting with whether she thinks increasing law enforcement would help reduce drug use.  She believes that to help reduce drug use, a root cause must first be found. “If you don’t dig up the root cause, we’ll just be building more prisons,” she said while also seeing that unemployment is probably a factor.

T.J. continued by asking what the state government’s role should be with assisting the community in fighting drug use.  Lieutenant Governor Jenean believes that prevention and recovery, particularly preventing addicts from slipping backwards, is a key way to stop drug abuse.

Josh Smith, another club member, asked how the state could help educate parents to keep their children away from drugs. The lieutenant governor believes that there is already considerable information available, and it’s easily accessible.  She would also like to see positive peer pressure where students help encourage each other to not use drugs.

In total, the students received considerable amount of information and support from the lieutenant governor that will help them continue with their project.  For more information about SOS, check out their Facebook page.

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Posted in Family & Community, School & Education.

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