High school summit focuses on saying ‘no’ to drugs
High school students from across West Virginia skipped class on Tuesday to make a classroom of their own to discuss the state’s massive drug epidemic.
The program, the brainchild of the DEA’s 360 campaign and the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, travels to cities across the country to teach students on how to say no to drugs in daily life and peer pressure situations.
Tuesday’s event drew nearly 7,000 students from dozens of high schools.
Students listened to testimonies from former drug addicts, along with celebrities such as former NFL and UFC athletes.
For some students, like Braxton County Senior Madison Groves, the decision to come and speak was easy. Groves has a father battling an addiction and wants others to never go through what she has gone through.
"I care because of the way it has affected me,” Groves said. “People on drugs has affected me very closely, and I don’t want other people to go through that pain because I know what it's like.”
Groves says she hasn’t seen her father in years and hopes he will seek the help he needs to live a better life for himself and his family. However in the meantime, Groves wants to continue spreading the message that addiction is nothing to play around with and one simple high can lead to a lifetime of addiction.
“There are things you can do to have your own personal high that doesn’t involve drugs,” Groves said.
Among the more emotional moments during the seminar was when speakers asked members of the audience to stand up if they have been affected or know someone who has been affected by drugs. More than half the arena rose to their feet.