Children shown effects of drugs

By Staff
Rebecca James, Franklin County Times
The Drug Task Force and Safe and Drug Free School program held their fourth annual Drug Store at First Baptist Church Friday to teach area students about the importance of drug prevention.
The event was held in collaboration with the Franklin County Sheriff's Department, the Russellville Police Department, Pleasant Bay Ambulance Service, and Russellville Hospital.
"I hope the kids will stop and think about the decisions they make," said Safe and Drug Free Counselor Nancy Cooper. "We hope that by experiencing this program, it will help them make good decisions."
The dramatic re-enactment features seven scenes in the life of a 17-year-old drug addict, "Laura", through her stages of addiction, and ultimately her death of a drug overdose.
Scene one features an anti-drug lecture from Lymann Rea, from the Sheriff's department. During his presentation, Rea stressed the importance of avoiding drugs.
"If you never start drugs and alcohol, you will never have to quit," Rea said.
"Drugs will kill you. They can take you away from your family and friends, or they can take your family and friends away from you."
During the lecture, "Laura" swiped a small bag of cocaine from the display Rea had set up. Two officers from the Russellville Police Department show up on the scene and search and recover the drugs from her. She is arrested and taken to jail.
In the second scene, Russellville Police Officer Jeremy Hall explained the booking procedure, he then photographs "Laura", fingerprints her, and puts her in a cell with two other inmates who harass and yell at her.
The students were then led to a courtroom, where "Laura" and her mother go before Judge Paula McDowell to be sentenced. The judge suspends her sentence pending her successful completion of drug rehab.
In the following scene, "Laura" went to rehab where the counselor explained what would be expected of her, and explained to her what the program consists of.
In the next scene after completing her rehab, "Laura" attends a party thrown by friends. After a while, she is offered both drugs and alcohol, which she willingly takes.
She passes out in the floor, and 911 is called. When the ambulance arrives, she is unconscious, not breathing, and barely has a heartbeat.
In the next scene, "Laura" is taken to the emergency room where the E.R. team tries unsuccessfully to save her.
"If you choose to do things like this, you are definitely affecting the people around you," said Angie Hitt, a registered nurse at Russellville Hospital. "Drugs will put your brain to sleep and this is what can happen. It's all about the choices you make."
The final scene is at "Laura's" funeral.
"You still have the time to make the right choices," Rev. Richard Parker told the students. "Unfortunately the wrong choices can often lead you to this."
First United Methodist minister Clinton Busler closed the program.
"What you've seen today is not real, but a re-enactment of something that happens every day," Busler said.
"This happens about once every two months in Russellville, which may not sound like a lot, but it is."

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