Friday, November 05, 1999

Effects of drugs, alcohol driven home to students

Enquirer Contributor

        UNION TOWNSHIP — Milton Creagh pointed to a white teen-ager in his audience at Lakota West High School Thursday and asked her to stand. He pointed to an African-American girl. She too, stood. Then he chose an Asian and Indian girl.

        “One out of four females is going to be sexually assaulted or raped by the time they're 18,” Mr. Creagh said. “They're not going to be grabbed off the street. ... They're going to be sexually assaulted by some guy they know. ... In most of those cases, the guy is going to be under the influence of alcohol.”

        For more than an hour Mr. Creagh, a national motivational speaker from suburban Atlanta, talked to the school's 1,500 students about the effects drugs and alcohol can have on the user and those around them.

        He blended statistics with experiences garnered from visits to prisons, from students at the 850 schools he's visited, and from growing up on Chicago's South Side.

        He asked students to stand if they knew of someone who had died from something related to drugs, alcohol or gangs. He had them stand if they knew someone who had been sexually assaulted. If drugs or alcohol had a part in someone's divorce or job loss. When he finished, almost every student in the room was standing.

        Senior Stacie Smith, 17, said she was shocked as she watched student after student stand during his questioning.

        “It was very powerful,” she said. “I totally agree with him. I don't drink now. I think I'm going to reach out to those who need help. That's how my life is going to change.”

        Mr. Creagh spoke at assemblies at Lakota's three middle schools, freshman school and two senior high schools Wednesday and Thursday, and to parents Thursday evening. He will speak at Mason middle and high schools today.


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