Cari McDonald remembers the first time she smoked pot.
She remembers where she was and who she was with, but the next six years are cloudy.
“I haven’t always been the person I was created to be,” the 23-year-old Forsyth County woman told students at Dawson County Middle School on Friday.
“I was a liar, a thief, an addict, full of lust and I was trouble. After six years of drug addiction, I lost myself,” she said.
McDonald, speaking to middle school students, was one of dozens of events held in area schools last week to mark Red Ribbon Week, the nation’s oldest drug prevention program.
Students across the county signed pledges to remain drug free and dressed up to “scare away,” “hide” and “team up” against drugs.
McDonald’s speach was one of dozens of events held in area schools last week as part of Red Ribbon Week, the nations oldest drug prevention program.
“Before drugs, I was a good kid, I went to church, I made A’s and B’s in school, I was on the track and cross country teams,” she said.
A short time later, she was living in an abandoned conversion van with a man twice her age.
Counselor Becca Wilson organized the middle school’s Red Ribbon Week events to bring attention to the drug problem locally and across the nation.
“It’s so important in middle school to fit in and be accepted by their peers. Friends are more important than family at this age,” said Wilson, who early last week sent home a list of resources for parents and students.
Wilson encourages parents to have open lines of communication with their children so they feel comfortable talking about drugs and alcohol.
“At this age, a lot of it is just curiosity. That’s why we’re trying to give them all the information they need, so if it’s offered to them, they know the facts,” Wilson said.
Founded in 1985 as a response to the drug traffickers in Mexico City murdering a drug enforcement agent, Red Ribbon Week is celebrated each October to keep children off drugs.
Principal Mark Merges said Red Ribbon Week builds on the foundation of drug awareness programs taught in classrooms throughout the school year.
“CHAMPS is taught in elementary school and now the school resource officers are teaching drug awareness in the health classes in the middle school,” Merges said. “We have a great community that has done great putting the word out there.”