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Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis recently presented his Face2Face Drug & Alcohol Prevention Program to the 8th grade students at Tantasqua Regional Jr. High School.


STURBRIDGE — It is a sobering statistic that almost 90 percent of the inmates at the Worcester County Jail & House of Correction are incarcerated due to addiction issues. According to Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis, if you ask any inmate today, most of them will tell you the same message: “I wish I could go back to middle and high school and make different choices with drugs and alcohol.”

On Jan 13, the sheriff brought exactly that message, along with footage from inside the jail, to the eighth grade students of Tantasqua Regional Jr. High School in Sturbridge, as part of his unique Face2Face drug & alcohol prevention program.

Since taking office in January of 2011, Sheriff Evangelidis has been on a mission with the county’s youth, having personally presented his Face2Face Program to over 125,000 students from across the region, and the sheriff shows no signs of letting up. With prescription drug and opioid use among teens at an all-time high, the sheriff has made sure to keep up with the newer drug trends in his Face2Face presentation.

Heavily concentrating his message on the perils of prescription opioid use with the students, Sheriff Evangelidis tells them it can often lead a person “down a dark path” to using harder drugs like heroin.

As the sheriff explains “No one tells you when they sell you that first pill that six months later you could end up with a needle in your arm,” in reference to the costly amount per milligram of prescription pills versus the fraction of the cost on the street for a bag of heroin that offers a comparable high.

Added to the presentation are newer trendy drugs such as Molly, commonly referred to as a “pure” form of the drug MDMA (ecstasy). Its recent spike in use among young people has resulted in scores of emergency room visits and deaths in teens and college students who take the drug while attendingclub shows and rave concerts.

Sheriff Evangelidis makes sure in his Face2Face presentation not to sugar-coat the drug with the sweet sounding name. The students are shown pictures of filthy drug labs where Molly is made, as well as hearing the myths and facts of its use directly from the sheriff as he reminds them, “there is no such thing as a safe or pure form of Molly.”