COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Students around the nation are familiar with sitting in various assemblies throughout the school year. This week has been no different with the kick off of Chambers County School District’s Red Ribbon Week initiative. Chambers County students participated in speaking engagements that stressed the importance of combating teen addiction. 

Matt Kelley of Equip Ministries spoke about the dangers of substance abuse and tips to prevent it. On Tuesday, Kelley traveled to multiple schools in the county such as W.F. Burns Middle School, Valley High School, J.P. Powell Middle School and LaFayette High School.

The Red Ribbon initiative is the largest drug prevention program in the U.S. and usually has a different theme highlighted each year. This year’s theme – “Celebrate Life. Live Drug Free.”

Kelley offered students a different perspective regarding teen addiction as he is also a former addict. Kelley has been sober for the last 24 years and uses his testimony to impact teens to make better choices.

Kelley shared statistics with students, informing them that 85 percent of all addicts become addicted before 18-years-old. He also demonstrated three types of hunting traps to watch out for to avoid addiction: live bait trap, foot trap and kona bear trap. He brought in a cage to explain how an animal can be baited and trapped into the cage. Kelley then went to explain the connection between this trap and how this tactic is used everyday to lure teens to use drugs.

Students were also informed about one drug that is responsible for more than 75,000 deaths in America in 2022. Fentynl, a synthetic opioid, has been driving an epidemic of opioid overdoses because it only takes 2 milligrams to kill an individual.

Due to Kelley’s impactful message, students across all four campuses took a public pledge of sobriety against using drugs, alcohol or vaping products to live sober. 

This Fall, Kelley will continue to speak to schools across Alabama to educate students on drug abuse prevention.