Red Ribbon Week teaching students to be drug free

"Hugs not drugs" or "a drug free me is the best me." You have heard these slogans before. You have probably either made a Red Ribbon Week poster yourself or helped your kids.

Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country.  A time for teachers and parents to communicate with kids about the dangers of substance abuse and help them learn how to fight back against peer pressure.

Drug addiction has reached epidemic levels across the globe.  According to A Foundation for a Drug-Free World, every day more than 2,500 kids, ages 12 to 17, abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time.  You probably know someone who has been affected by drugs.

Young people today are exposed earlier than ever to drugs.  Based on a survey by the Centers for Disease Control, 45 percent of high school students nationwide drank alcohol and 19.7 percent smoked pot during a one-month period.
Farmington Elementary staff and students are fighting back against the issue before it becomes a major problem.

Students are decorating classroom doors to learn the importance of being drug-free.

Sixth grader Jamie said, "It shows that we don’t like drugs because drugs can come back to haunt you."

Breece is in fifth grade.  Her class is learning how to say no to peer pressure

"Don’t listen to other people when they say hey you wanna do drugs, you don’t follow them, you be your own person and don’t follow them," said Breece.

Family resource coordinator Jennifer Morris said it is key to start early with prevention.

"We don’t believe it’s going to change the world, but we do believe by starting the conversation we are leading to a lot of great opportunities to get our community healthier and cleaner," said Morris.

Fun and interesting ideas that are making a positive and lasting impression on kids.

"They are seeing drugs more and more frequently, if we could get them aware of drugs and the importance and how dangerous they are it could solve a lot of problems earlier," said fourth grade teacher Jana McCord.

For parents that talk to their teens regularly about drugs, those kids are 42 percent less likely to use than those who don’t.  However, only a quarter of teens report having those conversations with their parents.

If you would like to get involved, Graves County is holding a Respect Family Night Thursday at 5 p.m. All families in the purchase area are invited to the free event. The night will focus on informing parents and children of the many pressures students face.

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