The Woodland Park Municipal Alliance Against Alcoholism and Drug Abuse recently sponsored a six-part workshop called “We’re Not Buying It” for Memorial School sixth graders, given by the Center for Prevention, based in Newton.
The program aims to prevent or delay the onset of alcohol, marijuana, and drug use, and to prevent bullying. Participants learn how to deconstruct media messages that promote or glamorize substance use. With a better understanding of the marketing directed toward them, students are better able to resist messages and to make healthy decisions.
Sessions focused on “media is everywhere,” alcohol and marijuana use, prescription drugs, and bullying. The sessions are customized for each class as program facilitators Miss Ashley and Miss Laura say some are more knowledgeable than others on the topics discussed.
At a session which focused on popular music, nearly two third of the students knew of songs that referenced drugs and alcohol, mentioning such artists as Wiz Khalifa, Juice Wrld, and Snoop Dogg.
The students were broken into small groups, looking at lyric sheets of popular songs, and counting the number of drug or alcohol references in them. In one such song, “Because I Got High,” students counted 52 references. “You may think it’s OK because you see it and hear it,” Miss Ashley said. “But it’s not.”
In speaking about alcohol at another session, students learned that the legal drinking age is 21 as adult brains are not fully developed until that time. “In actuality, it’s more like 25,” Miss Ashley noted. The students learned about the Good Samaritan Law, which protects you from any liability in an attempt to get medical help for someone who is in need.
Students also heard about the addictive properties of drugs and alcohol as well – how the brain tells the body that the person needs it. “Usage only masks your problems,” Miss Ashley said. “It’s so important that we learn healthy coping skills to deal with the stresses that we face.”