Youth Forward scholarship 2016 – The Fight Against Prescription Pill Abuse

Name: Samuel Watson
From: Hazel Green, Alabama
Grade: 12th
School: Hazel Green High School
Votes: 35

The summer that marked the transition from junior to senior high also
became the point in my life when I realized my friends in middle
school would turn into completely new people during high school. The
innocent kids I grew up with were now experimenting with new things
and new people, all of which were fine with me, until I received a
phone call late one night. One of my friends was at an
upperclassman’s party where illegal substances were being abused. He
was coaxed into ingesting large amounts of hydrocodone which led to a
severe decrease in his blood pressure.

Hearing the traumatic news prompted me to want to prevent an event like this
from happening again. I contacted Deborah Soule, a Partnership for a
Drug-Free Community board member, and together we founded a drug
prevention group called Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’s Leaders. Despite
the many financial problems I personally was having, I still managed
to be a valuable asset to TYTL. Being a leader in TYTL has allowed me
to answer the question of how youth can overcome peer pressure, drug
abuse, and the consequences arising from participating in illegal
activities. Youth need to be aware of how certain substances can
affect their body, emotions, and academic performance. The members of
TYTL researched the effects of prescription pills; then we relayed
what we learned to the community. Since starting TYTL in 2013, I have
contributed over eight hundred hours of service work towards the
fight against drug abuse in Madison County. I have educated parents
about the risks of pills, I have informed students of the side
effects of abusing pills, and I have advised police officers to be
aware of current abuse trends in high school. Through my work in
TYTL, I have improved the lives of the people who were abusing the
drugs and the lives of the family and friends of those who were
addicted. Being able to launch a campaign against drugs has allowed
me to not only better the lives of others but save the lives of
others as well. The difference I see in the people I have helped has
transformed my views on service work. In previous years, I helped
others just because it was “the right” thing to do, but since
founding TYTL, I have learned to love the expression on the other
person’s face when I assist them. Looking forward, I see myself
forming something similar to TYTL. Hopefully, my drug prevention
efforts in Huntsville, Alabama will see their way into wherever my
life takes me.

When I come back to Huntsville to see my family after college, I know the
people who we helped will still be thankful for our assistance.
Because of our countless devotion, and their undeviating
perseverance, the community of Madison County is a safer, more
productive environment.

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