This morning Kathie Sinor, health educator at Granite Bay High School, introduced Catherine Smith, Salem Communications Marketing Consultant, to ninth graders to talk about their decisions regarding drugs and alcohol. “We are here today to talk about making good decisions for your health,” she said. “At your age, the front part of the brain is not yet fully developed, and so it is really important that you are well informed to make good decisions, because you will be faced with decisions that have life or death consequences.”
According to Sinor youth are extremely anxious and stressed as she is observing more students being treated for severe anxiety disorder and requiring accommodation. “With wireless communication and social media they are exposed to so much. Kids have a hard time with boundaries - and there is great anxiety about their future,” she said.
This presentation is a part of a youth substance abuse prevention program sponsored by Salem Communications called, “Clean Scene” wherein students who decide to participate in the program go to the radio station to do a professional recording of their reasons to not use drugs and alcohol, which will be broadcast later with corporate sponsors.
“How many of you know kids who do drugs and alcohol?” Smith asked, as roughly half the students raised their hands. “So why do you think kids do it?” she inquired. The students volunteered many reasons including to be cool, depression, and fun. “Doing drugs and alcohol is often a way some kids choose to deal with a low self image, stress or cope with a difficult situation at home,” she said. Smith then shared her reasons for using drugs when she was a teenager, including some abusive treatment at home. “Can you believe that I did things that caused me harm because I thought my friends would think I was cool? What do you call it when someone does something harmful to themselves to impress others? Stupid.”
And then Smith offered her main reason for caring about their decision to stay clean. Her own teenage daughter had nearly died from alcohol poisoning. “You guys need to know when you hurt yourselves you also hurt the ones that love you. I was very hurt by my daughter’s decision. After living through that experience, I decided to do something to help kids not use drugs and alcohol,” Smith said. “Next time someone offers you something, just say ‘that’s not for me’ - it’s not judgmental.”
According to Sinor, the students will be given extra credit for participating in the “Clean Scene” program.
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