Freshmen attend anti-drug presentation in PAC, Jan. 10
Freshmen attended an anti-drug presentation about the effects of drugs on young people in the Performing Arts Center during Academic Lab, Jan. 10.
Link Crew sponsored the presentation by Jeff Mozingo and Joe Richardson. The speakers focused the effects of drugs on people, and also touched on the loss of school music programs.
After a 23 minute drum performance by Mozingo, which included tunes such as “Thriller” by Michael Jackson and “Red” by Taylor Swift, Mozingo spoke about music, its importance in the world, and how music programs are disappearing from schools. After a brief speech, he gave the stage to Richardson.
“We need to toughen up,” Richardson said. “We are soft because everything is readily available.”
Richardson spoke on the danger of drugs and their effects on users and those close to them. During the presentation, related images appeared on the projection screen behind him, including a cartoon depiction of the drugs people use throughout their lives. Richardson primarily focused on the drug heroin. For each of the past several years, hundreds of youth in the St. Louis area have overdosed on heroin.
“You won’t have a future if you turn to drugs and alcohol,” said Richardson. “It doesn’t work that way.”
Richardson’s own son, Billy Joe Richardson III, died of a heroin overdose at age 20 on Aug. 12, 2012 after 90 days of being clean. Following his son’s death, Richardson began speaking out more actively against drug usage.
“It was very touching, and at the same time very, very sad,” freshman Mackenzie Cochran, who also said that she was able to connect to the story of Richardson’s son, said.
“I thought it was very powerful,” counselor and Link Crew sponsor David Tabscott, who helped organized the presentation, said. “I watched it from the front and got to see the kids faces. Many were profoundly moved … [Richardson and Mozingo] came in and spoke to me about doing an assembly for our students. I put it in the ‘if the message helps one kid say no’ category … then it was time well spent.’’
Cochran said that she has never been confronted by others on the topic of drug abuse, and that she believes it is because the school does a good job in preventing substance abuse.
“Counselors and teachers are always encouraging students to make good decisions,” Tabscott said.
However, the school actually has few anti-drug measures. Less time is dedicated to drug awareness in high schools across the state compared to elementary and middle schools. The freshmen anti-drug presentation reflects an effort to prevent drug use at all levels of Ladue education.
“As wonderful and bucolic a community we live, work, and go to school in, we are not immune to specter of illegal drugs,” Tabscott said. #