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Students learn preventative measures
Odd Squad visits Chief T'Selehye School

Kassina Ryder
Northern News Services
Published Monday, February 24, 2014

Students at Chief T'Selehye School learned about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, thanks to a visit from the Odd Squad earlier this month.

The Odd Squad, which is comprised of active police members and retired officers from B.C., travels throughout Canada showing youth the impacts drugs and alcohol have on people and their communities, according to the organization's website.

They visited Fort Good Hope on Feb. 5.

Grade 8 student Daniel Ellton said the squad's message rang loud and clear.

"I learned that drugs can be really, really, really scary and it could ruin your career and it can make you do really crazy things," he said.

Odd Squad members, many of whom work in Vancouver's Downtown East Side, showed students how easy it can be to fall into a lifestyle where drugs and alcohol become priorities, Ellton said.

"It will make you drop out of school," he said. "It will make you turn away from your family and friends."

Teacher Tyler Holland said he believed a lot of the information was relevant to students, especially the dangers of alcohol addiction.

"The use of heavy drugs isn't the issue here, it's the alcohol," he said.

Ellton said he learned about how powerful alcohol addiction can be.

"It can get really dangerous and people can die from it," he said.

According to information from the Canadian Addiction Survey, more than 42 per cent of Canadian youth between 12 and 15 years old reported drinking one drink at least once in their lives. Twenty-two per cent of those reported drinking to intoxication at least once.

Holland said the group's presentation helped students understand how quickly alcohol can take over someone's life.

"A lot of people don't think of that as a drug or a substance to be abused, but it can get out of hand," he said.

Having police who deal with the impacts of drug and alcohol abuse visit the school is a great way for students to learn about their experiences first-hand, Holland said.

"Nobody intends for that to be their life, but they have all seen that happen time and time again," he said.

Ellton said he learned how difficult it can be to quit drinking and said he hopes people in his community who are struggling with alcohol addiction will have the courage to try and stop.

"Talk to a therapist and get help," he said.

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