FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – It can start with vaping and end up with the use of fentanyl. Numbers show that 1 in 8 teenagers abused drugs in the past year.
Local enforcement agencies believe events like Red Ribbon Week are key to educating young people early, about drugs.
They gathered at Edison Bethune Charter School in southwest Fresno for an old fashion Red Ribbon Week anti-drug rally. It was close to Halloween, so some were dressed in costumes. They chanted the same message as kids did more than 30 years ago, ‘just say no to drugs.’
“It’s still relevant today because drugs is still a major issue here in the united states especially with our young people,” explained Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama.
Red Ribbon Week was started in 1985 by a group of parents to raise awareness about the damage drugs can do. Chief Balderrama says for kids, parents are still at the forefront of this battle.
“They need to know that they can always call a parent. If they are in a situation where drugs are at a party or drugs are being offered or maybe they’ve taken drugs and now they feel a negative reaction to have that confidence to call a parent,” explained Balderrama.
But parents can’t do it alone, it takes the entire community and some superheroes.
These kids look up to characters like Batman, Wonderwoman, and Spiderman, they listen to what they say.
Young kids also listen to their teachers. At King Elementary, they hosted anti-drug activities all week long.
Kindergarten teacher Calandra Williams says at this age, she tells kids what they should do.
“I try to stay focused on staying healthy and making healthy choices and then I went into making smart choices so we talked about is doing drugs a smart choice what are things you should be doing,” said Williams.
People may wonder if any of this makes a difference, but students like 5th-grader Milton Beverly show kids are listening to the message.
“You should never do drugs because it’s bad for you and if you want to grow up to be whatever you want to be then you have to keep on that track and not do drugs,” explained Beverly.