Anti-drug program hosted

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Launching drug awareness a few days early for Red Ribbon Week next week, the Mississippi National Guard brought it anti-drug program to Frazier Primary School Wednesday morning.

Teaching students through role models &045;&045; three soldiers &045;&045; and a short educational video filled with recognizable cartoon characters, Guard members taught the students the danger of using drugs, such impairment of judgment, and about peer pressure.

Sgt. 1st Class Carroll Walker told the students about marijuana and cocaine, the two drugs addressed in the video, as well as the importance of not taking other people’s prescription drugs.

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&uot;This age group, we just give them the basics,&uot; Walker said. He said older students are also taught exactly how drugs could affect them and what the consequences of drug use could be.

And then there was the helicopter.

The students were allowed to get into a OH-6 helicopter, pushing the pedals and buttons and pulling levers as if they were really flying

Although each student only stayed in the helicopter about five seconds, it was enough to leave an impression.

&uot;The coolest part was when I would pull the thing back and I would move,&uot; first-grader Kathryn Kyzar said.

Sgt. Maj. James Williams and Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy McClellan would shake the trailer the helicopter was on to make the students think they had really started the equipment.

The &uot;ride&uot; sparked some of the students’ interests in future plans.

&uot;One day, I’m gonna ride in a helicopter,&uot; first-grader Robert Drummy said. &uot;I like flying.&uot;

Carroll said the school programs let students know the military is drug-free and reaches children early enough to prevent drug use before it starts.

&uot;We reinforce our message by letting them get up in the helicopter,&uot; Walker said.

The Guard provides its Drug Demand Reduction Program throughout Mississippi free of charge to any school that requests it.