Teens encourage others to choose a drug-free lifestyle in Anderson County

ASAP Youth Ambassador Coalition is planning a fun winter gathering with healthy message.
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 4:16 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2021 at 5:02 PM EST
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CLINTON, Tenn. (WVLT) - Teens are trying peer-to-peer efforts to prevent substance use and addiction in Anderson County. This, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 15 percent of high school students nationwide admit to using drugs.

ASAP of Anderson Project Director Stacey Pratt said the ASAP Youth Ambassador Coalition informs adults who are working to prevent substance misuse.

“They do a lot of work with our adult coalition to educate our adults on what’s happening in their schools,” Pratt said. “How youth are being reached, whether that’s through social media or posters or banners in their schools. Who are they listening to? How can we get the messaging across to them?”

Youth Ambassadors are planning a Winter Movie Night as a community-building effort on Friday, Dec. 17. Youth Ambassador Imelia from Oak Ridge High School said, “The movie night is an event that everybody can get behind. And people who go there can also build new friendships with people who they feel comfortable around.”

Youth Ambassador Elizabeth from Clinton High School said, “I show my friends that it’s fun to be drug-free by showing them how much fun I can have without that kind of stuff.”

Youth Ambassador Luca from Oak Ridge High School said, “I try to keep my friends away from substance abuse. I’ll try to encourage them, like, do some healthy activities, maybe running or swimming or sometimes the occasional D&D or video games.”

The Polar Express is the featured movie for the December event at the Oak Ridge Civic Center at 1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike. Activities begin at 6:00 p.m., with trivia and movie time set to begin at 7:00 p.m.

“High schoolers and teenagers are very capable,” said Pratt. “They want their voice to be heard. I think this group gives them an outlet to be able to make positive change, get their voice heard, to shape their community in the way that they want it to look.” ASAP of Anderson has free resources for teens and parents.

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