Reaching teens before they make bad choices for prom, graduation

Published 5:43 pm Monday, April 4, 2022

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
Area high schools are beginning to plan for proms and high school graduations, so the  Carter County Drug Prevention is reminding young people about the dangers of using drugs and alcohol during these celebrations.
All area high school students are invited to the Carter County Promise event, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 23 in the back parking lot of the Elizabethton Public Library.
“We at Carter County Drug Prevention hope that by having this event close to local proms and graduations, this will reduce the rates of underage consumption of alcohol and drug use instances,” said DFC Program Director Nicole Kendall. “It is vitally important for kids to know the signs of intoxication so that they can make educated decisions about their own transportation as well as assisting their friends and those around them with transportation.
“It only takes one poor choice of remaining silent and not speaking up about someone’s impairment to potentially cause an accident and possibly end someone’s life.”
Kendall shared the following from a survey conducted by AAA last year:
  • 39% of high school teens admit they or their friends would likely be under the influence of drugs or alcohol sometime during prom or graduation season.
  • 87% of teens believe their peers are likely to drive impaired instead of calling their parents or guardian for help because they are afraid of getting in trouble.
  • 23% of teens have ridden in a car with an impaired driver.
  • 28% of teens have called their parents at least once to pick them up either because they or their ride was impaired.
  • 83% of teens support a program that offers to tow the family vehicle home for free to avoid the risk of anyone driving impaired even when it means admitting to their parents or guardians that they’ve been drinking and/or using drugs.
Attendees will be asked to sign a promise that they will remain drug and alcohol free during these events.
Kendall added that with the pandemic, there has been an increase in access to alcohol and or prescription medication due to being home more.  Also, there has been a decrease in teen mental health and this has also contributed to a rise in substance use.
“At Carter County Drug Prevention, we have medication lock boxes available for anyone interested,” said Kendall. “These simply hang on the wall or can be placed in a cabinet and your prescription/OTC medication can be locked safely away.  To obtain a lock box you can email  nicole@cartercountydrugprevention.org.”
Kendall said the first 50 attendees will receive a free treat from Freddy’s of Elizabethton while all attendees will be entered into two raffles held at the end of the event.
Several vendors will be participating in the event, including SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), PEAK mentors, and CCDP.

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