Florida Gets Federal Help Educating Kids on Dangers of Club Drugs

Kids playing games with a twist are all tools in Florida's war on club drugs such as ecstasy.

Richard H. Carmona, U.S. Surgeon General, says, “Certainly Florida has done a wonderful job in working diligently to reduce drug use in our youth, but we can't stop here; we can't stop until it's eradicated."

The United States Surgeon General was in town to give the Department of Children and Families a check for $1.5 million to fund a five-year program geared towards educating middle and high school students about ecstasy.

Chet Bell, VP of the Stuart Marchman Center, says, "We show them very clearly here that the use of club drugs are unhealthy and there are plenty of healthy alternatives in their lives."

That is what these games are used for. Cards are used to show the kids alternatives and consequences of drugs, and you can even "take a chance" with a jelly bean; one might taste like cotton candy, another, grass. It's a relevant way to get the information across.

Bell adds, "Standing up and just giving people just a reason to do something is not sufficient. What we want to engage people in is the reasons why it's important to engage in a healthy lifestyle."

Ecstasy use is down in the state and educators believe that with continued education, those numbers will stick.

The money is going to two centers, the Gateway Community Center in Jacksonville and the Stewart Marchman Center in Daytona. Educators hope to implement this new plan statewide in the near future.