WACO, TX (FOX 44) – We’re now in the middle of Red Ribbon Week and smaller schools in Central Texas are doing their part to educate students on the dangers of drug use.
Theme weeks have been planned for students to dress up and take part in the learning experience.
Staff and law enforcement have been speaking with Valley Mills and Lorena ISD students about the increasing threat of vapes and opioids targeting minors.
“There’s all kinds of crises going on in our country and epidemics and things like that,” said Josh Jones, Valley Mills High School student services director. “It’s important just to always shine a light on things that are dangerous for young people because the world is a dangerous place.”
Jones has been hands on in putting together this year’s Red Ribbon Week.
Jones says the importance has grown over time.
In Lorena, superintendent Dr. Joe Kucera agrees.
“We’re seeing an influx of THC in these vapes, and I would just say that is really the number one thing we’re working on in schools right now, is trying to educate our kids to stay away from vapes,” said Kucera.
Valley Mills High School junior Lily Coronado says she’s been seeing friends and classmates use vapes.
After this week of lessons, Coronado sees the bigger picture.
“It’s gaining a new understanding of how drugs can affect you, especially lack of motivation, things like that, especially at a young age,” said Coronado.
Big factors encouraging teen drug use are peer pressure, social media, and what’s on tv and radio.
Valley Mills High School senior Jojo Valdez says its best to separate fiction from reality.
“It brings awareness to the topic again, but it can also be portrayed in a harmful way,” said Valdez. “As a teenager, you have to be mentally aware of what’s good and what’s bad and to separate them into useful groups.”
“The reality is you don’t know exactly what you’re getting every time. I saw in the news not too long ago of some of these vapes being laced with fentanyl. That’s my biggest fear for some of our students is them to get a hold of a vape and it have something that has the ability to do some serious harmful effects to them,” said Kucera.
Kucera says the job never stops with each ribbon week always working to teach students the dangers of drugs and making good choices.