PLATTSBURGH — Jayce Waltz told a roomful of middle-school students and their parents about her life as a drug addict.
“It’s all who you hang out with,” she said, speaking of her experiences with marijuana and alcohol that led to cocaine, pills and psychedelic mushrooms.
“Wherever you go, new stuff is presented.”
Waltz will be a junior at SUNY Plattsburgh in the fall.
She has been living drug-free since she completed a 20-month rehab program while she was in high school.
Parents often don’t suspect their own children of leading their peers astray, Waltz said.
“Looking back, I was a bad influence.”
Waltz sat on the student panel at the annual “Start Talking Before They Start Drinking” workshop at Stafford Middle School.
Also taking part were Plattsburgh High School students Katie Stetz, Marle Curle, Kelly Cantwell and Matt Evans.
Evans said high-school kids will often take prescription pills without knowing what kind of drugs they are ingesting.
Stetz and Curle agreed that doctors often prescribe more drugs than patients need, which can be a danger, they said.
“It’s just handed to them (patients),” Curle said.
‘NEVER TOO EARLY’
It’s never too early for parents to start talking to their kids about drugs and alcohol, said Drug Free Communities Support Program Project Coordinator Jessica Mathews.
Locally, Stop Underage Drinking funds the Above the Influence group at Plattsburgh High School, the after-prom party, health fairs and alternative events like a recent Friday night bowling party, she said.
The federally-funded program is nearing the end of its second five-year funding period, Matthews said.
Two terms of $125,000 each in funding are all that is available.
To continue the work after the money runs out, Matthews is working on making individual activities and programs sustainable.