Students ban together against drug use

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-A Region 8 organization is working to help students stay drug free and influence others to do the same.

Representatives from the Out of the Dark Coalition made a special announcement at Jonesboro High School.

On October fifteenth and sixteenth, a youth group from Dover, New Hampshire will be traveling to Jonesboro to speak to students one on one about a number of different drug issues.

Jean Strauser, Vice President Out of the Dark Board of Directors, says holding an event like this for Region 8's youth is the responsible thing to do.

"We feel this is necessary in this day and age for the kids to realize the importance of knowing what drugs can do to them. A lot of them have no clue. They look at the fun and the parties and the things that are showed to them on TV and they just don't have a clue. And we also hope as a result of this they will come back and form a youth coalition."

Strauser says this event is going to be a lot more than students sitting a listening to someone speak.

They're going to be talking face to face with peers, "They will be given information in a fun way that involves them, not just sitting and listening to someone. They will present material concerning prescription drugs, but will probably also be hitting on alcohol and it's effects and marijuana use and we'll have a medical doctor from here in Jonesboro that will also be speaking"

JHS Junior Asia Wilson is a member of Out of the Dark and says she joined the organization for support, "I got tired of my brothers and family and friends indulging in alcohol and I wanted to meet new people that had the same outlooks as me and did not involve in that stuff."

Asia says the organization has also helped her come out of her shell and know who she is.

"I'm more active now. I'm not shy. I've made a lot of friends, now. I know how to walk up and start a conversation and just because I do have friends who do drugs, I can still be there friends but not feel peer pressured because I have other friends behind me that's backing me up that doesn't do it."

JHS Sophomore Isaiah Curtis says he joined to try to make people aware of what drugs really do, "I know a lot of people who do drugs, people on the football team, people I play basketball with, a lot of different people. I just want to let people know you can have help, you can talk to people. I just want to let people know how it can tear your families apart, friendships apart. . .you can just loose stuff in your life."

Junior Courtney Welsh says she also wanted to be a positive influence on others, "The main reason I want to be a part of it and I'm really glad I joined is we're able to reach people our own age and our own lives and there are steps you can take to prevent drug use. Like at our high school there's a lot of kids I know that are using drugs and in Out of the Dark I feel like we have an opportunity to prevent the drug use at an earlier age."

JHS student Tre Crume says he stepped up to the plate to be a role model to others, "I decided to join Out of the Dark to not only be a leader on the football team, but outside of football with my peers. And also to try and influence somebody not just by church, but by school and try to get them involved in not doing drugs and things like that."

Senior Kavonna Ellis says drug problems in her family were ignored and she needed someone to talk to, "I joined Out of the Dark because of the issues I have with my family. . .really being closed in and not speaking about the drug addiction problem that was there and I felt like if your in a family or any issues that come along you should be open to discuss the things that go on. And I just really wish that we could be more open with one another."

They expect almost three hundred students to attend the Youth 2 Youth event.

All meetings will take place at Arkansas State University's Convocation Center.

For more information, log onto their website.

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