|Nikki Gardner shows students the harmful effects of smoking.|
The Emery High School Peer Helpers, along with advisors from Four Corners, visited San Rafael Junior High School recently with a presentation concerning "gateway drugs." Gateway drugs are those substances that lead to other drugs and their use. Peer helpers did presentations about the effects of tobacco, alcohol and inhalants.
Jackie Rogers, Shelby Huntington, Leslie Emery and AnnDee Adams began the program with a few facts about alcohol use. They told the San Rafael students that alcohol is a poison and its use can be fatal, and if a person drinks five or more drinks, it can be considered binge drinking.
Emery related a story about a 15 year old Emery County youth who was involved in a drinking party, and barely escaped with his life. This young man passed out from drinking and the older people at the party tried to rouse him by putting him in a tub of cold water.
The submersion in the cold water induced convulsions and the group panicked. They took him to his home and dropped him off on the porch. It was mid December and he was wet and nearly naked. When his father heard the noises on the porch, he opened the door and discovered his son lying on the porch.
At this point the son was not breathing and the father figured he was dead. He tried to pick up the young man, but dropped him in the process. When the son hit the ground, he emitted a groan and began breathing again. An ambulance was called and the son was rushed to Castleview Hospital.
The 15 year old was in an alcohol induced coma, and was in extremely serious condition. He did survive, but he was very lucky to have done so. Emery told the students that this could be any young person who decides that drinking sounds like fun. "It is a very dangerous thing and could be deadly," she said.
Huntington related a poem about someone who was watching a coffin being lowered into a grave. The poem told about the results of drinking and driving.
Adams related a few facts about drinking and young people. "Alcohol is the number one drug problem with teenagers. It kills more youth than the other illegal drugs combined," she stated.
A video was shown with a man telling about his drunk driving incident. He said he had driven many times while drunk and nothing had happened. Then this time, he didn't even consider himself drunk, he had an accident. He related his thoughts about waking up in the ditch and suddenly becoming aware that his children were not with him. As he was being questioned by the police officers, he heard someone in the background shout "we have a body over here." It was at that moment he realized he had killed his own children.
Rogers finished the alcohol presentation by saying, "Be careful of what you consume. Alcohol can be deadly."
Jake Fausett and Brandon Larsen were next and talked about inhalant use. "An inhalant is any volatile substance that is inhaled for the effect of its vapor, and when inhaled produces a mind altering state," said Larsen.
Fausett showed the students two depictions of a brain. The first was a brain with no indication of any inhalant use. The next was a brain under the influence of inhalants. The most notable difference was the size of each brain. The inhalant brain was much smaller and had hollow spots in it. He explained that this is the damage from inhalant use. "Not only will a person suffer a lot of brain damage, you could die from inhalant use. You're dead, dead, dead," said Fausett. "It can also suffocate you by freezing your throat and that makes you dead."
To begin the tobacco part of the program, Lori Huntington of Four Corners, explained to the students that chewing tobacco is not a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. The contents of one can of chew is equivalent to 90 cigarettes.
Nikki Gardner and Jacqueline Hill explained the contents of a cigarette. They contain the main ingredients of moth balls, rat poison, mercury, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, gasoline, cadmium, candle wax butane, vinyl chloride, and many, many other dangerous compounds. These are the ingredients which make cigarettes so addictive.
They explained that every person's body is different and the length of time to become addicted to cigarettes is different. "It may not be the first time you smoke or the second, but it will happen," said Gardner and Hill. They concluded their program with a demonstration with pig lungs. They showed a healthy set of lungs and connected them to an inflator. The color was pink and they were very flexible. The next set of lungs were conditioned with cigarette smoke. Not only did the lungs smell very badly, but they were black and inflexible. One of the lobes did not work at all.
Charlotte Withers, Jenny Dennis and Teresa Colby concluded the program with a presentation of the dangers of methamphetamine use.