October 28 the saw the conclusion of 2016’s Recovery Awareness Prevention (RAP) Week in the Northport-East Northport School District. The five-day event was an opportunity for students in Northport to receive further education regarding the dangers of drug addiction and what they can do to avoid it in their communities. Featuring a series of engaging guest speakers, informative assemblies and interactive exercises, RAP Week focused on the physical, emotional and lifestyle dangers associated with drug abuse to highlight the impact it can have on a person’s life. The event provided much-needed information and awareness to a community that is increasingly vulnerable to drug abuse and addiction.
Events were held at all school levels in the district, including an assembly for seventh-grade students called “Beyond the Gateway Drugs” which demonstrated the dangers of the drugs that many middle-school students think are harmless. The event highlighted the dangers of marijuana and recreational prescription drug use. Students were educated regarding the biological effects of illicit and prescription drugs, and the circumstances that can sometimes lead to abuse and addiction. The event was met with appreciation and positive reviews from students, faculty and administrators, alike. Northport High School also a hosted series of assemblies. Guest speakers from various institutions and organizations visited the school and spoke about the impact of drugs and addiction.
The importance of events like RAP Week in schools cannot be understated. In a climate in which drug use is an ageless public health threat, education, awareness and empowerment should be deployed as early as possible to prevent today’s students from becoming tomorrow’s addicts. While enforcement and treatment are undoubtedly important elements in prevention, education is where awareness starts, and it is a critical part of curbing opioid and other types of illicit drug use all around Long Island.