by Carolina Contreras
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and the Wellness teachers welcomed Camila Barrera, a prevention and education coordinator of Middlesex Partnerships for Youth, to talk about substance abuse and its legal consequences on February 28.
SADD members approached advisor Tammy Murphy because they felt that students would benefit from a seminar on substance abuse prevention.
They felt that sophomores would most benefit from it because the eighth and ninth grades already cover substance abuse in their wellness classes.
Tenth grade students who attended the seminar agreed that it was useful. “If I had a friend suffering from drug addiction, it could definitely help them out,” sophomore John Boule said.
Barrera began the seminar by asking what the most abused substance among teens was. The majority of students answered marijuana, but they were shocked to find out it was alcohol. Barrera then pointed out that this is because many teens have easier access to their parents’ alcohol than any other substance.
Boule felt that her discussion of alcohol abuse was important because alcohol is commonly used as a gateway drug.
Barrera then went on to explain how more than 4 in 10 people who begin drinking before age 15 eventually become alcoholics. She also highlighted how alcohol can cause slowed reaction time, dizziness, vomiting, and impaired judgment, which is why many people think they are sober enough to drive under the influence when, in reality, they are not.
She also explained how marijuana can affect parts of the brain like attention, learning, motor coordination, mood, and emotions.
She continued by saying how possession of an ounce or less of marijuana could lead to a fine of $100, and if the offender is under 18 years of age, he or she must complete a drug awareness program within a year of the offense.
At the end of the seminar, SADD members presented real life scenarios in which students were pressured to use drugs, and they explained how to say no in those situations.
Boule had another answer to that problem. “They should hangout with friends that don’t do drugs. Definitely don’t get involved with people who are a bad influence.”