I live in Dardanelle, Arkansas, a town that has a population of approximately 5,000 people. It is a very poor population that belongs in Yell County, Arkansas. This town has very impressive test scores among our students. However, as with every area, there is a drug problem. I am a student of EAST lab. EAST lab allows students to work on community projects. I decided to create a project in which I would be working with the Yell County Drug coalition to help prevent drug abuse. I immediately devoted myself to this project, and realized I could make a difference in my area. My first goal was to spread the news about the drug coalition's StopMethNow contest. Students promote a drug-free lifestyle through creating commercials, documentaries, posters, and other creative content. Myself, among with two other EAST students have been able to put flyers in several local businesses. Students who enter the contest have a chance of winning a Dell computer. I also helped advertised the contest throughout our school. After this, my EAST team began to focus on how to promote a drug free lifestyle, having special emphasis on the meth abuse occuring in our county.
We came up with having a "Poster of the Month". Each poster would show a creative, graphic visual that showed how drug abuse can affect a person's lives. One poster showed the scabs of a meth user who had literally picked his skin off his body. Each poster has a disturbing reality that began to receieve many responses. I would watch student's reactions to the posters. They had a positive effect at Dardanelle High School. After we realized this was working, we began hanging posters in every classroom that had detailed information about how to spot meth abuse. It also contained information about how to report drug activity in our community.
I then personally went on my research project. My goal was to find a motivational speaker to talk to Dardanelle High School's student body about the serious realities of drug abuse. After much research, I located http://www.facingthedragon.org, the website of David Parnell. David Parnell was a drug addict for 23 years. Trying to stop his pain, David Parnell attempted to commit suicide by shooting himself in the face. David was declared dead the scene, but doctors were able to save David's life. Now, David devotes his life to talking to people about the dangers of drug, especially meth, the drug that ultimately led to David's suicide attempt. He has spoken all over the United States, as well as Canada and Europe. Dardanelle High School now has the honor of hearing David speak. The next drug coalition, we will persuade other schools in Yell County to have David speak at their school. David will visit Dardanelle High School on January 10.
I am now drawing up plans for a mock "Meth House" to be put on the stage. Students will have the oppurtunity to see an imitated meth lab. The meth lab will contain actors playing drug addicts, as well show the consequences of long term meth addicts.
I will continue to work on this project until the end of the year. Myself and the rest of my EAST team will keep devoting our time to promoting a drug free lifestyle in our area.