Addiction center begins outreach program with students

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Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist- Jason Thomason

PADUCAH, Ky. - James P'Pool spent the day at Paducah Tilghman on Monday.  He was one of a handful of men from CenterPoint to share his story of addiction with the teens.

"Nobody wants to get up there and admit their flaws," he admitted, but said his was a story the students needed to hear.

P'Pool is part of a new outreach program targeting teens.

Rachelle Ihnen, with CenterPoint, says 52 percent of her clients at the drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility are ages 18-34.

"This is the place to start.  This is the place where we could teach them about drugs and alcohol. Here in the classroom.  This is where is starts.  This is where it begins," she said of the program.

P'Pool told students about what he called "the worst time in my life."  In 2009, while driving under the influence, he plowed into a truck and killed a man.

P'Pool was sent to jail and later to CenterPoint.  He told the teens he is changing his life, "Everything that happened to me was because I made bad choices.  I'm happier now that I'm making good choices."

The students also heard from Kenvon Pierce.  The high school basketball standout was kicked off the team his senior year.

"I'm smoking before I would play in games. I'm drinking while I'm at school," he remembered.

Instead of spending four years at Murray State on a scholarship, he spent five years locked up on drug and alcohol charges..

Pierce said he wanted the kids to have what he did not.

"Ya'll are the future," he told the group.

James P'Pool said he hoped, after Monday, just one future was brighter, "I would come back everyday if I knew it would help one person."

The group group returns to Paducah Tilghman Tuesday and Wednesday.

Coordinator Rachelle Ihnen is hoping to travel to more schools in the weeks and months ahead.

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