Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown congratulates Liberty Middle School eighth-graders as they graduate the drug prevention program which uses the game, "It's Party Time and It's No Game," endorsed by the Georgia Sheriff's Association. With Brown are Paulina Banegura (left), who was honored for her Outstanding Participation in the program, and Caitlin Bloodworth, who was honored for her Outstanding Performance.
COVINGTON -- The Newton County Sheriff's Office has been conducting a pilot program geared toward eighth-graders and designed to show them some of the real consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.
Last week Liberty Middle School eighth-graders graduated from the program with curriculum endorsed by the Georgia Sheriff's Association and taught by NCSO Deputy Jacquetta McCoy titled, "It's Party Time and It's No Game."
The class was taught using a game concept which simulates the lifestyles of various 23-year-old adults. The students were divided into six groups and identified with the lifestyles of non-user or users of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, prescription pills or meth. Each group had a spokesman who informed the class about daily consequences from their particular lifestyle and an accountant who maintained a lifestyle worksheet. Each group started with a $3,000-a-month salary and a $3,000 savings account and they were then asked to deduct the appropriate amount to maintain their addiction. After that amount was deducted, the students were then left to pay other normal expenses such as housing, utilities, transportation and fun/leisure activities.
As the game progresses, some students were then faced with such consequences and expenses as jail, rehabilitation, speeding tickets, drug busts, random drug tests, illnesses and absence from work. Ultimately, they began facing such problems as homelessness, jail time resulting in loss of job, living in "junker" cars and stealing. Some groups came to an early death, were sentenced to jail for life and were institutionalized for rehab.
The exit surveys completed by the students showed that the program drove home the point that if their productivity and income were spent on an addictive lifestyle, they would suffer both financially and emotionally.
"This drug and alcohol program is geared to educate students about the dangers of drug and alcohol use," McCoy said. "This simulated board game allowed them to understand the importance of making good choices, which results in positive consequences because this will help them towards a rewarding and bright future."
Other portions of the program used DUI goggles that simulate the effects of a person under the influence of alcohol and a guest speaker from the Georgia METH Project who talked about methamphetamine usage.
Students at Challenge Charter Academy will next take the class.