Fall River Students Get Lesson on Dangers of Drugs During Visit from DA’s Office

Article Date: January 30, 2014

From The Herald News

By Michael Gagne

FALL RIVER — By the time students get to high school, it can be too late to teach them about the dangers of substance abuse. That’s because many are developing those habits by then. It’s partly the reason why the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office’s Community Affairs, which has programs targeted toward teens, had been distributing brochures on drug facts this week during lunches in Fall River’s middle schools.

“Last year we did the campaign in high schools,” said Cecelia Porche, the director of the community affairs office. “Guess what all the teachers told us?“ ‘You’re too late.’” Porche said this particular campaign, part of National Drug Facts Week, is “about the science behind what drugs does. When you introduce drugs they can rewire a developing brain.”

On Thursday at Matthew J. Kuss Middle School, students were seen flipping through pages on the pamphlets while munching on slices of pizza, sipping chocolate milk and chatting with friends. The brochures are rich with visuals. Administrators on lunch duty also perused them.

Harry Potter, Kuss’s wellness coordinator, said those images in a brochure called “Drugs: Shatter the Myth” were effective. “Page 15, right there. That sums it up,” he said, pointing at picture depicting “Meth Mouth,” the rotting teeth of an individual addicted to methamphetamine.

A paragraph explaining how those physical effects of meth use set in appeared above the photo. The drug “reduces the amount of protective saliva around the teeth,” users also “tend to drink a lot of sugary soda, neglect personal hygiene, grind their teeth and clench their jaws.”

Porche said the approach of visiting during school lunches is more effective than addressing students in a large assembly setting. It generates conversation among students. On Tuesday, the DA’s office visited Edmund Talbot Innovation Middle School during lunches, and Morton Middle School during the same period on Wednesday.

Cara Mullenhour, a senior at B.M.C. Durfee High School, who also volunteers with the BOLD (Building Our Lives Drug-free) Coalition, helped distribute the materials to the first lunch group. “I really want to help out younger kids,” Mullenhour said, adding “a lot more high school students than I thought at involved in alcohol and drug abuse.”

Original Article: http://www.heraldnews.com/article/20140130/NEWS/140139339/11666/NEWS