Presentation shows students reality of drinking, driving

Amy Hamilton

There are plenty of reasons to recognize Red Ribbon week and even more for those who’ve lost a loved one because of an accident involving drugs or alcohol.

According to MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, it isn’t too soon to teach elementary school students about the effects of substance abuse.

A multi-media presentation Monday afternoon at Craig Middle School showed schoolchildren how to practice being “street smart” in an effort to spur positive thinking that may later take the edge off peer pressure to drink alcohol or use drugs.

“I enjoyed mostly all of (the presentation),” said Jacqueline Murray, a 3rd grader at Sunset Elementary School. “I learned that drugs and alcohol can injure your brain.”

This year marks the second MADD has brought the triple-screen video show to Craig schools. The version for the elementary school student audience generally focuses on ways students can command respect for themselves by eating good foods and becoming aware of their environment.

A punchy script loaded with recognizable cartoon characters from the movies of Shrek and Ice Age kept an auditorium full of young heads bobbing in time to the music and message. Rock star video clips from some bands like InSync and Semisonic helped push the say ‘no’ to drugs theme along.

“This kind of forum helps hold the kids’ attention,” said MADD representative Shelly Orio. “They are usually pretty impressed with the size and impact of the presentation.”

And having the MADD organization orchestrate the shows during the Red Ribbon week at Moffat County schools helps both groups drive home issues over why students should shun drugs and alcohol, proponents said.

According to figures from MADD, youth who drink before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21. Furthermore, more than 40 percent of individuals who start drinking before the age of 13 will develop alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence at some point in their lives.

Fourth-grade East Elementary School teacher Linda Mosher thought the video did a good job in showing students how to say ‘no’ to drugs.

“I think students really get a lot of this,” she said. “The presentation makes a much bigger impact than if I were to stand in front of the class and say the same things.”

Red Ribbon Week, which winds up on Friday, offers activities for elementary and high school students.

High school students viewed a “Real Life” MADD presentation early this morning that showed more graphically the results of mixing drinking and driving.

“For the little kids, this show tends to answer questions,” Orio said about the presentation for younger students.

“The older kids tend to show different emotions, some who come to us crying,” she added. “At that age, they’ve been there and they can grasp the dangers of driving under the influence.”

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or

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