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From left, Assistant Principal Matthew Urquhart, Superintendent-Director Michael F. Fitzpatrick, Assistant Superintendent-Director/Principal Anthony Steele, and Sheriff Lew Evangelidis who was presented with a BVT Polo at the close of the presentation about drug awareness at Blackstone Valley Tech.

Posted Nov 30, 2016 at 6:21 PM
Updated Nov 30, 2016 at 8:40 PM
By Christian Yapor Daily News Staff

UPTON – To raise awareness of the effects drugs and alcohol have on the human body, Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis gave his second Face2Face presentation in two years to the 1,200 students of Blackstone Valley Tech.

During the presentation Tuesday, Evangelidis taught students how to make responsible decisions if they are ever faced with drug or alcohol related incidences. By sharing stories from inmates, videos, photographs and news stories with the students, Evangelidis demonstrated the harm drugs and alcohol have on the lives of substance abusers and their families.

The Face2Face program, which has been running for five years, reaches out to students in Worcester County and beyond, including Springfield, Lowell, and New Bedford.

“It’s important for students to understand the impact of drugs and alcohol abuse,” said Vice Principal Matthew Urquhart. “We’re constantly trying to teach our students to be respectful, productive citizens, and teach them how to respond to different situations they may face after graduation.”

Usually the Face2Face Drug Awareness Program uses cameras and software to take photos of the students and alter them to demonstrate the effects drugs can have on skin, teeth, and hair over time. However, there were technical difficulties with the equipment during the Blackstone Valley Tech presentation. Students were also shown ‘before and after’ photos of people who struggle with addiction to demonstrate how drug use impacts their appearance as well as their health.

“We care about you, but that doesn’t matter if you don’t care about yourself,” said Superintendent-Director Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick at the end of the presentation.

Urquhart said the school will continue to bring the program back every two years to educate the student on substance abuse awareness.

“Our job is to prepare them for their post-tech life by giving them knowledge to know the effects of drug and alcohol abuse,” said Urquhart.