Play targets substance abuse

WELLSBURG – A local agency has recruited students at Brooke High School to help it spread the word about substance abuse in what they hope will be a light-hearted, nonpreaching manner.

With support from Advocates for Substance Abuse Prevention, the school will present “Sticks and Stones,” a one-act play, at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. today and Sunday in the school’s auditorium.

Tickets are $5, with proceeds going to the Angela Casinelli Scholarship Foundation. Casinelli wasn’t involved with drugs but was active in the school’s drama program before she graduated last year, shortly after which she died from an embolism.

Nathan Marshall, the school’s theater adviser, said the play, which was written by Don Kukla, “treats substance abuse quite seriously, but it also makes sure the audience has plenty of fun along the way. The students will perform several skits full of wisecracks and questions about abusing cigarettes, drugs and guns. There is also a magic remote that can make the actors fast-forward, act in slow-motion and speak in rewind.”

Destiny Walsh, who is co-directing the play with fellow Brooke senior Natosha Douglas, said, “Everyone has worked very hard to bring the play together and I hope it is successful, enjoyable and educational.”

Affiliated with the Brooke-Hancock Family Resource Network, Advocates for Substance Abuse Prevention is a Weirton-based agency that has attempted to curb substance abuse locally through projects ranging from public forums on illegal drugs to placing locked drop-off boxes for discarded prescription drugs at public places.

Rachael Ferrise, Drug-Free Communities coordinator for ASAP, said, “This is a very exciting time for our coalition and myself. We have the students of our local high school wanting to be a part in providing a helping hand to educate the public on the dangers of substance abuse.”

She added, “I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Nathan Marshall for taking the time to work with us. It would not be possible without him and his students.”

“This will be a great opportunity for our students to not only display their talents but to learn something and teach us all something about the negativity of substance abuse,” Marshall said.