Boys to Men of Waldorf talk drug avoidance advice
Address causes, influences for teens using drugs
Opioid addiction has been a real issue across the United States for decades now and police departments around the country are doing everything they can to combat it.
And that is no different in Charles County where opioids and other drugs have become a major concern for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and other elected officials.
That’s why Boys to Men of Waldorf partnered with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday at the Faith Temple Baptist Church in La Plata to host a drugs and alcohol avoidance program to talk to local high school and middle school children about saying no to drug use of any kind.
Jemal Simmons, the program organizer and a member of Boys to Men of Waldorf, said living through drugs and using them for recreation is becoming the more popular thing for children to do these days because of pop culture.
Many rappers and artists, he said, glorify drug use and make it seem all right for children to do the same things, he said, when in reality it is not all right.
“They make it seem like that’s normal. And just living your life, you know that’s not normal,” Simmons said. “Peer pressure and most of the rappers you
listen to say its OK. But that lifestyle is not real.”
Children have to know, he said, that the lifestyles that they see portrayed through music and through television are not what their reality is. In reality, he said, drugs are damaging and they can change, and in some cases end, people’s lives prematurely.
Cpl. Daniel Baker, a member of the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and a community policing officer, said, in many cases, that is true. Peer pressure and outside influences are the things that push children toward drug use, alcohol use and just overall bad decisions.
The way to combat that? Baker said having good role models in life and a solid support system are the way to go. For him, he said, that was who his father was.
“I hated my dad, but he made some of the best decisions for me,” Baker said. “We’re the best of friends today. I call him all the time to talk. I tell him I love him.”
Many children these days have those same role models, but still end up making mistakes, he said. And a lot of that comes because of the culture surrounding different drugs.
For example, he said, in many places marijuana is being decriminalized and treated as a lesser drug. In many cases, he said, it is trending toward becoming legal.
Charles County State’s Attorney Tony Covington (D) said things are trending that way “unfortunately.”
Many people have agendas, Covington said, and are just trying to make money off of a drug. But, just like with the opioid problem, he said it’s best to just avoid marijuana altogether.
Simmons said it is especially dangerous for youth because there is no telling what it could do to their growing brains.
“There are studies that indicate that for those under 25, it could have very harmful effects,” Simmons said.
Overall, Baker said, as long as children know “right from wrong” and avoid hanging around the wrong people, they will be fine. There are too many instances, he said, where children get caught up with the wrong people and make bad decisions.
Everyone who participated in the program, he said, is set to do well. Because, like him, Baker said that those children have strong men and women in their lives who want to see them do well.
That is the difference, Baker said.
“They bring you here and they do these things with you. There are thousands that don’t have this opportunity, that don’t have the strong people in your life,” Baker said.
Charles County State’s Attorney Tony Covington speaks to children and adults alike about drug addiction and drug use in Charles County at Faith Temple Baptist Church on Saturday.