Students Take a Stand Against Drug Abuse


Make It Better members spread awareness of drug and alcohol abuse to fellow students. (Photo courtesy of Peggy King)

Carson DeAngelis, In Depth Editor

Warren Hills Community Coalition and School Based have started a new partnership called Make It Better (MIB), a group of Warren Hills students dedicated to substance abuse awareness.

School Based Youth Development Specialist Peggy King, who represents the organization’s partnership with the school, describes MIB as a peer-led group with the mission of bringing awareness about drug abuse, as well as making the school a place where people feel free to seek support by changing the climate of the school to be less judgmental.

“I really hope that it changes the culture of the school and changes the mindset of the students and staff when people are faced with problems of addiction,” said King.  “I hope people will become more aware of the resources available in the community and as a whole be kinder to one another.”

In recognition of National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, which lasted from January 22 to 26, students involved with MIB compiled a list of facts to be read throughout the week on the morning announcements, hoping to inspire students to do their own research.

King said the intention of making the announcements was “Spreading awareness so that people understand the magnitude of the problem and how common it is for people to have issues, whether it’s with prescription drugs and pills, or vaping, or opioids, or marijuana.  We’re hoping to shed some light on it.”

As someone who grew up surrounded by substance abuse, and the problems that come with it, King has a personal connection to causes like that of MIB.  Losing friends to addiction inspired King to help young people understand what to do when they are faced with similar problems.

“I grew up in a family of recovering alcoholics and addicts, so to me, it was just something I grew up around,” said King.  “For me, getting help in that respect has always been destigmatized, but as I started working with people and started talking to them, I realized that these people don’t have that outlook at all, so that’s why I was so passionate about it.”

  For students who have also been affected by substance abuse, King thinks MIB has a positive impact.  She believes that MIB inspires students to join by helping them make a positive difference for people affected by substance abuse.

“I think there’s a whole lot of reasons why students want to be part of Make It Better,” King said.  “Whether they grew up with either loved ones or friends or family members who struggled with addiction, or they themselves struggled with addiction, it’s something that they’ve really seen can shatter people’s lives.  For them to be empowered and be able to do something about it gives them hope.”