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Drug program shows students harsh reality

“Addiction is a devil” is one of the first things Franklin County sixth-graders learned April 11 as they participated in the Drug Story Program, put on by Red Bay High School and Free Will Baptist Church.

Drug Story Program is a drug prevention and awareness program designed to educate students about the adverse outcomes of drug abuse and the associated health risks. During the program, the students follow a story about a student who steals drugs, gets caught, goes to jail and then court, is released to attend drug rehab, relapses at a party, overdoses and dies in the emergency room. The program concludes with a funeral service held for the individual.

“I think it’s a great program. They realize the real presence of it,” said East Franklin Junior High School teacher Nicole Busler.

Each scene takes place in a different room of the church, and different community members, as well as Red Bay students, play certain roles in the story. RBHS Students Against Destructive Decisions and HOSA members host the production, and officers from the Red Bay Police Department, Kevin Strickland and district attorney Joey Rushing assist with the scenes as well.

“The Drug Story is an exceptional program in that it exposes young children to the reality of drugs before they have to experience it at a high school level,” said Strickland, “and lets children see the negative side of substance abuse as opposed to how it might be glorified by their peers.”

In addition to the Drug Story Program, the students listened to a presentation by tobacco educator Christopher Hargett about the health risks of tobacco products – in particular, the newly-popular e-cigs and vapes. Hargett said it’s important for students to learn about tobacco prevention as well as drug abuse and prevention.

“We’ve been doing this for many years now, and it’s something I think has been a success,” said Rushing.

The Drug Story Program is funded through donations.