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By John Clements

Earlier today, we were pleased to welcome Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis to our school as he shared his “Face2Face” program about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. In two presentations – one for 9th & 10th graders, one for 11th & 12th graders – the sheriff provided the students with important information about the way drugs and alcohol can impact their lives.

The presentation began with a discussion of some of the public figures who have struggled with addiction including actors and athletes who are often in the news. As the presentation progressed he also included a variety of videos with first-hand accounts of teenagers whose lives were altered by their drug use. Through these stories he presented the negative physiological, social, and emotional impact of using drugs and alcohol. In addition to this information, Sheriff Evangelidis dispelled a number of myths and provided facts about the use of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other drugs. One of the most memorable moments of the presentation came toward the end of the meeting when he showed how drastically one’s physical appearance can change as a result of repeated drug use. He showed a series of before and after pictures leaving a tangible, memorable reminder of the effects of drugs.

The sheriff shared that 85%-90% of people who are incarcerated have struggled with some type of addiction. He communicated the message that he often hears when speaking with inmates about what led them to jail – never to underestimate the negative impact that drugs can have on your life.

As you speak with your children about their day at school, I encourage you to get their feedback on today’s presentation. I am confident that the sheriff’s message will have a meaningful impact on our students.

Sheriff Evangelidis has brought this program to more than 50 schools in Worcester County. I am extremely thankful for his help and the efforts of our school nurse, Mrs. Kristin Gauthier, for planning this presentation and giving Sheriff Evangelidis a chance to meet “Face2Face” with our students.