2017-04-21 / Local News

‘Too Good for Drugs’ message to students

By SCOTT POWELL
Ledger Staff Writer

About 3,500 Cherokee County elementary school students heard messages about the value of staying too good for drugs through a drug education program in local schools.

The school district has partnered with the sheriff ’s office since 2008 to provide the “Too Good for Drugs” prevention program to all 5th-graders. Students complete seven weeks of drug prevention instruction provided by Cherokee County Sheriff ’s Office Sgt. David Parker in a school-based prevention program developed by the nonprofit Mendez Foundation in Tampa, Fla.

Too Good for Drugs is a goal-oriented program in which students become aware of how gateway drugs, such as tobacco, alcohol and marijuana, can lead to experimenting with harder drugs. Students learn how different drugs affect a person’s brain and body chemistry, impair judgment and negatively impact behavior.

In previous years, Cherokee County 5thgrade students were the only group to receive drug education classes. But the school district and sheriff ’s office expanded their efforts this year so younger students are receiving a similar message.

“We expanded the ‘Too Good for Drugs’ program to students in first through fourth grade,” said Laura Camp, who coordinates the district’s Drug Free and Safe School programs. “While our younger students don’t get the same seven weeks of instruction as fifth graders, we felt it was important to provide age appropriate lessons on the importance of living a drug-free lifestyle. This has allowed us to reach 3,500 students this school year.”

The Cherokee County Sheriff ’s Office has partnered with the school district for the past two decades to provide drug education programs for elementary students. Mueller said the drug education program is organized so students can build on their knowledge and decision making skills each year as they move through the school system.

“We will continue to have an active partnership with the school district to provide drug education programs in our schools,” Mueller said. “We believe it’s important to help students make good choices in their lives. We want them to learn from us, and not from the streets. We feel it’s important to introduce strategies for making good decisions at an earlier age so kids will know how to respond and react.”

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