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Teens in Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’s Leaders advocate to ‘Chill the Pill’

Participants in "Chill the Pill" news conference included Akesia Ransaw, from left, Columbia High School; Mat Hawkins, Sparkman High School; Kaylie Edwards, James Clemens High School; Devan Davis, Lee High School; and Deborah Soule, executive director, Partnership for a Drug-Free Community. (CONTRIBUTED)
Participants in “Chill the Pill” news conference included Akesia Ransaw, from left, Columbia High School; Mat Hawkins, Sparkman High School; Kaylie Edwards, James Clemens High School; Devan Davis, Lee High School; and Deborah Soule, executive director, Partnership for a Drug-Free Community. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Local teenagers denounced prescription pill abuse at the “Chill the Pill” campaign launch on March 13.

Their news conference held at the Madison County Public Health Department was part of Today’s Youth, Tomorrow’s Leaders (TYTL) program, affiliated with Partnership for a Drug-Free Community. The teens unveiled its website (tytlone.com) and announced social media channels for its campaign.

“Did you know that everyday about 2,000 (American) teenagers use prescription drugs without permission for the first time, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse,” spokesperson Wendy Reeves with Wynsum Communications LLC said.

About 50 percent of high school seniors said getting prescription pills is easy. Almost 70 percent said their home medicine cabinets are their source, the study stated.

Forty-one students in grades 9-12 from 12 schools in the Huntsville, Madison and Madison County districts participate in TYTL.

Kaylie Edwards, a James Clemens High School junior, said the objective was “not to jump down the throats of anyone. We’re here to help create awareness about the problem of prescription drug abuse.”

“We’re not trying to judge anyone,” Kaylie said. “The epidemic must be stopped but we can’t do this without the community.” Her parents are Ronnie and Kathy Edwards.

A Bob Jones High School, Kristie Martins said, “It’s sad to see anyone give their life away to something so unworthy. It’s cool to see kids from all over the area, not just Madison, coming together to work on this issue.” Her parents are Marcelo and Rosely Martins.

Executive director Deborah Soule said the partnership “wanted kids with good character in TYTL. We didn’t care about grades.”

Madison Police Capt. John Stringer stressed the importance of teen involvement. “In Madison, we want our teens and all students to know they’re important stakeholders in our community. They don’t have to wait until they’re adults to participate in keeping our community a good, safe place to live.”

For more information, visit partnershipforadrug-freecommunity.org/tytl, Facebook/tytlpartnership and Twitter @tytlpartnership.

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