The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

May 16, 2014

Substance Abuse Council: Make good choices, graduates

A letter to the Area Graduates from the ASAC (Area Substance Abuse Council’s) Prevention Department:

Dear Graduates:

The ASAC Prevention Department would like to offer congratulations to the class of 2014 high school graduates in the Gateway area. We are as proud of you as your parents, grandparents and guardians.

You have seen us coming and going, following you year after year with our prevention programs, warning you, teaching you and encouraging you, to “just say no.”

You may have watched and listened when we presented puppet shows in elementary school, Project Alert, Life Skills or All Stars in middle school and JEL and CSTEP clubs and countless health classes in high school — all of these with our warnings and messages of the dangers of gateway drugs, and the hope that you would all make smart choices as you grew into young adults.

Please remember us as you take the next step into your journey and some of these facts: Alcohol use slows your normal growth and development. It can also lead to high-risk sex, sexual assault and teenage suicide. Tobacco and all nicotine products are purposely marketed to young people. It is the most devastating and preventable cause of disease and premature death in world history. Each year tobacco kills 430,000 Americans and 1,200 people die every day from secondhand smoke. Also please remember that one marijuana joint can be as damaging to the lungs as four tobacco cigarettes, and being in any smoky environment for two hours is equivalent to smoking four cigarettes.

In closing, we want to encourage you to make intelligent healthy choices based on some of the information you have received from us over the years. Congratulations and best of luck to the Class of 2014 as you graduate and move on to the next chapter in your lives.

ASAC Prevention Department,

Jennifer Gerdes, Tiffany Harris, Candace Seitz, Maribeth Bousman, Julie Furne and Leslie Mussmann

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