TORONTO - Pupils and students were warned in stark terms about the danger s of drug and alcohol abuse during two assemblies last week at the city high school.
The assemblies, which were part of the school's educating of students about drug and alcohol abuse prior to the high school prom, included health workers and others who had been involved in drug abuse telling their story.
After an introduction by Ed Robinson, high school principal, speaker Joel Adamski told the assembly he wasted years because of his involvement in drugs.
"I would hate any of you going down this path," he said, adding he began by smoking marijuana in sixth grade and later spent 12 years in prison. "Right now you guys have the greatest opportunity to do something with your lives. Every teacher in this building is here to help build a foundation in your life."
"(Prison's) a bad place," said Adamski. "You don't want to go there."
The Rev. Raul Diaz, pastor of the Cornerstone Church, told pupils and students he saw first-hand how drug abuse ruins lives.
"I don't want you to become a statistic," said Diaz. "You need to know you are something.
"This year I was at nine funerals, and six of them were drug-related," Diaz continued. "They never thought for one second they would end up in a casket. Drugs are evil. You are not cool if you are (doing drugs). It is a lie."
Diaz said peer pressure and a desire to appear "cool" is one of the reasons he chose the wrong path when he was younger.
"Whenever there was a girl I wanted to impress, I'd take a drag off a cigarette," said Diaz. "I was too busy being cool. That led to a wrong lifestyle. I chose the road to addiction. I chose to be a slave."
Nurses Robin Leasure and Lori Sestito educated the assembly on the health consequences of drug and alcohol abuse, including hazards of long-term use.
"Sometimes cigarettes are a gateway," said Leasure, adding one of the biggest dangers currently are synthetic drugs. "(Drug dealers) are now marketing to youth. That's what's out there now. It's going to kill you."
Leasure also said its impossible to know nowadays what drugs contain, and some can cause permanent psychosis or hallucinations.
"Would you smoke rat poison?" she asked. "Because that may be what you're doing. You have no idea what they are putting in (the drugs)."
Leasure also told pupils and students the root causes of drug abuse, including bullying, a family history of drug abuse, depression and low self-esteem.
(Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)