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School events focus on safe choices re alcohol and other drugs

NOTE: Media are invited to attend any of the schools listed below to cover or photograph these events.

SIMCOE, ON, MAY 1, 2008 – The Haldimand and Norfolk Drug Awareness Committee is hosting a series of “Safe Grad” events at high schools in May to emphasize safe choices in the use of alcohol and other drugs.

“We’re bringing two campaigns to the school, the ‘Why Drive High’ campaign and the ‘Don’t wake up with more than a hangover’ campaign,” explained Michelle Pasichnyk, Substance Abuse Prevention Health Promoter at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.

In addition to the Health Unit, the drug awareness committee consists of the Ontario Provincial Police, Ministry of Transportation, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

“Why Drive High” is an interactive campaign that addresses the dangers of driving while under the influence of marijuana. Students get a chance to navigate a toy car on a metal ring over a steed rod pathway to simulate driving to a “party” sober. If the ring touches the rod, a buzzer will sound to indicate a crash. The student must then navigate the same pathway, but with a car on a 30% smaller ring to simulate driving “home” under the influence of marijuana. The student will be more likely to “crash.” Questions and fact sheets complement this campaign.

The “Don’t wake up with more than a hangover” campaign addresses the relationship between alcohol use and sexual risk when engaging in behaviours that can lead to acquiring sexually transmitted diseases.

The events will take place over lunch hour, with the exception of Holy Trinity Catholic High School, where only the “Why Drive High” campaign will be offered as part of “Smart Choices” day at the school. The schedule is as follows:

May 5, Hagersville Secondary School;
May 6, Dunnville Secondary School;
May 7, McKinnon Park Secondary School;
May 8, Cayuga Secondary School;
May 9, Delhi District Secondary School;
May 12, Waterford District High School;
May 13, Port Dover Composite School;
May 14, Holy Trinity Catholic High School (“Why Drive High” campaign only);
May 15, Simcoe Composite School;
May 16, Valley Heights Secondary School.

Media contact: Michelle Pasichnyk,
Substance Abuse Prevention Health Promoter,
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit, 519-426-6170 Ext. 3274.