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Teen Truth teaches dangers of drug use

Program presented at Canyon High School explains effects of addiction

Posted: October 20, 2009 9:57 p.m.
Updated: October 21, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Michael Sarich, center, was the featured speaker at Teen Truth, presented at Canyon High School this fall. Surrounding Sarich, are students who attended the talk.

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Every year, a number of students are suspended or expelled from local high schools. Many of these removals are related to problems with drugs and alcohol.

In response to this situation, a program known as Teen Truth was presented in the main gym at Canyon High School this fall. At the mandatory assembly, students were shown an inspiring video of the horrendous effects that drugs and alcohol have on the lives of addicted teenagers.

The video, titled "Teen Truth: An Inside Look at Drug and Alcohol Abuse," was 55 minutes long, edited from more than 80 hours of raw footage recorded by five students who were each given a video camera to take to school for one school year.

Around 42,000 Americans die annually in car accidents, with 44 percent of these accidents due to alcohol abuse. That's more than 18,000 people who die from alcohol-related car accidents per year in the United States.

Many of these car accidents include either teenagers who are under the influence, get in the car with a driver who is under the influence, or are hit by someone else who is under the influence. And this is just due to the effects of alcohol alone.

Probably the most powerful part of the video was a frightening 9-1-1 call made on Jan. 4, 2005. A couple was stranded in their car, screaming for help, claiming they were surrounded by a large group of people, 23 miles away from home.

The video replayed the whole call and, at the end, showed that the couple was really only a mile from home, and completely alone in a snowstorm. The video also revealed that they had been using crystal meth days before the fatal incident.

The goal of the Teen Truth program was to get through one very important message to all teenagers: "Don't ever start. Then you won't have to stop."

The effects of drugs and alcohol can have a serious impact on the lives of teenagers everywhere - self esteem issues, destruction of relationships, and a quicker aging process. The list of problems and complications only grows the more these substances are abused.

Amanda Imperial is a senior at Canyon High School.

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