Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Anti-Drug Talk Takes on New Tone

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Anti-Drug Talk Takes on New Tone

Article excerpt

After a decade in Jacksonville, Red Ribbon Week is still about

hoopla, parades, decorations and festivities. But the art of

discussing drugs with students has changed significantly.

In 1986, when the national anti-drug school campaign began,

speakers would visit Jacksonville's schools and try to get

through to groups of students with horror stories about drugs,

veteran school drug counselor Terri Cicero recalled yesterday.

"Kids are different today; we have riskier kids than we did

then," said Cicero, of Ed White High School, who was the first

ZIP (Zeroing in on Prevention) drug counselor hired by the

school system. "They're more apt to challenge adults today.

They're more apt to use drugs at an earlier age."

So, her counseling tactics have changed. She talks with

students almost exclusively one-on-one. She's more

confrontational. She makes them think about their own situation.

The kids are beyond group rallies.

Nevertheless, Jacksonville is in the midst of Red Ribbon Week

1996, and the rallies, parades and hoopla are back. For some

students, especially in the elementary schools, the group

activities are effective at "planting seeds," early warnings

against alcohol and drug abuse, faculty members say.

Red Ribbon Week, a spinoff of the Just Say No to Drugs campaign

of the mid-1980s, began Wednesday and continues through

Thursday. Activities include a video at Southside Middle School

on Monday called "Nightmare on Drug Street," a presentation

called "Turnaround Jax" at Northwestern Middle School on Tuesday

and a victim impact panel Wednesday at Fletcher Senior High

School.

There's also a parade of middle school marching bands scheduled

at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Drew Park on the Southside.

Red Ribbon Week "has a real good impact on elementary kids, but

I'm not so sure about middle and high school," said Kathy Cobb,

ZIP counselor at Sandalwood Senior High. …

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