Despite the fact that it’s already November, and people are hanging up their Christmas lights (does no one care about Thanksgiving?), it is important to reflect on the importance of drug and alcohol abuse as we enter into the holiday season.
“The period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is a time when many drug addicts and alcoholics try to ignore their condition to participate in the camaraderie and festivities of family gatherings, company parties and the like,” said Joe Floyd, CEO of a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center called The Pat Moore Foundation. “This behavior typically results in increased drug and alcohol abuse, especially among those who are already addicts.”
As we approach this time of cheer, one local Walton County organization made it their duty to inform the public on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
The Youth Advocacy Board (YAB) is a non-profit that was created to utilize the local youth in order to better understand and prevent underage drinking and drug abuse. One of their many projects includes the Haunted House of Addictions, held the weekend before Halloween. The Haunted House of Addictions has been a YAB tradition for years, informing the kids and teens of Walton County to avoid the dangers of alcohol and drugs.
According to the current director of the Youth Advocacy Board, Alisha Hope, “The purpose of the House of Addictions is to show our peers and community the effects of drugs and alcohol. We show pathways that could potentially happen.”
The House of Addictions followed a story line as people walked through the eerily decorated, old field house at Athens Technical College in Monroe. First, viewers would come along some friends going to a party where there are kids getting drunk and fighting all over the floor. Next, the crowd moves into a room full of people smoking and chugging pills. The House works like this, with each room displaying the real-life horrors of drugs and alcohol, including a friend overdosing on pills as well as a mother selling her child to have money for cocaine. But not all of the Haunted House is about drugs, which viewers quickly find out as they near the exit and are suddenly chased by a masked man with a chainsaw.
“We also add some fun at the end because it is Halloween!” said Hope.
The Youth Advocacy Board is currently planning a campaign in the spring with similar goals as the Haunted House of Addictions.
“We will be campaigning for students to make healthy decisions for Prom. The plan is to partner with local florists and put sticker reminders on corsage and boutonniere boxes.” said Hope, who has worked with the teens of YAB to attempt to avoid DUIs and any other unwanted drug and alcohol-related events after Prom in the spring.
If you missed the Haunted House this year, be sure to check it out next October around Halloween time by staying alert for upcoming YAB events and supporting this great cause.
Joshua Walker, is a sophomore at Walnut Grove High School and an Explorer with Your Local News.