Anti-drug assembly has varying impact on students


Amanda Adler

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler opens the assembly with statistics and information about the status of drug use in the area.

Vicky Hartzler, a US congresswoman and Missouri representative, introduced three different speakers who told thought-provoking stories at an anti-drug assembly hosted at Warsaw High. Whether their words were impactful or not, however, fully depends on each individual student.

  The drug assembly, held on April 3, featured three different speakers. Julie Oziah-Gideon is the mother of Samantha Huntley, who passed away in 2017 from a heroin overdose. Tom Krause is a retired educator who spoke of self worth. Captain Kip Bartlett, a cop, spoke of his experiences with drug abusers as a police officer.

  The assembly was cracked open by Hartzler, with introductory information about the state of drug abuse in the local area, and statistics and media intended to persuade students against drug use.

  Despite the moving stories that were delivered, a survey sent out 64 Warsaw High School students revealed that 32.8 percent of students found that the assembly had no impact on them. 25 percent believed the assembly had a fair amount of impact, 23.4 percent thought the assembly had some impact, 12.5 percent thought it had big impact and only 6.3 percent found that the assembly was life-changing.

  “The drug assembly was impactful to me because it showed me what can happen if you do drugs once,” Junior Kolby Estes said.

  These assemblies are part of Hartzler’s ‘Missouri Drug Free Initiative.’

    “[The program] includes several things,” Hartzler said “High schools are just one of these things.”

  The program is about helping counties in her district establish drug courts, and creating a toolkit and a resource for communities to use against drug addiction.

    “I began the program because I wanted to do everything I can to address drug problems in the area. I became aware of this problem several years ago, when I talked to businesses who said they couldn’t find employees to pass a drug test,” Hartzler said.

    Students have noticed a local drug problem as well.

    “I feel like we obviously have a drug problem here in Warsaw. I’ve witnessed people doing drugs. Pot is the most popular around here. People say it’s not addictive but I believe it is,” freshman Grady Miller said.

    Sophomore Whayne Rose believes the drug problem stems from the ease of access, as well as the emotional lure of a fix.

“The feelings that [drugs] cause bring out people’s emotions. It gives them a good feeling and then it leaves them low again,” Rose said.

  Other students put the quality of the assembly into question.

   “I thought that the message was good, and the three speakers that Vicky Hartzler brought in were good, but I feel like vicky hartzler did not really plan her speech out very well,” junior Taylor Bunch said. “It was kind of all over the place and it left a lot of room for kids to make fun of her, which is not what you want when you talk about drugs. A lot of the stuff that she said wasn’t really factual, and she got pretty preachy as well. One of the biggest issues nowadays is that you shouldn’t bring religion into school.”