The students of Havre de Grace High School deserve our sincere appreciation and acknowledgment for their brave, mature "Take a Stand Against Heroin Day" event. Moreover, principal James Reynolds, Paige Milanoski faculty adviser for Students Against Destructive Decisions, and the school teachers and staff have earned our community's gratitude for tackling the opioid and drug epidemic head-on.
Why is this substance abuse awareness program so important? One reason is that it enables students to actively participate in the learning experience, talking with their peers and informed adults.
Past attempts, for example, the well-intended but counter-productive "Just Say No" campaign actually resulted in a modest increase of drug use. Other ad campaigns like "This is your brain on drugs" appealed to some adult viewers but did not discourage young people from trying dangerous drugs.
Kudos to the Havre de Grace High School student body and staff. The 517 students who wore shirts and focused on the tragedies and dangers of heroin are wise beyond their years. Likewise, The Aegis, The Record and reporter David Anderson deserve recognition for making this a front page story.
Havre de Grace
Mathis is president of Addiction Connections Resource and board member of Doctors for America. Editor.