Bradley Co. program educating youth to stay away from drugs - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bradley Co. program educating youth to stay away from drugs

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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -

Growing up how many above the age of 30 knew what heroin was when they were 10. Odds are you were in the minority if you did.

A newly formed anti-addiction program in Bradley County says kids are being exposed to drugs of that sort at younger ages than ever before.

"There's data out there showing that second graders are experimenting with inhalants. You can sniff something and instantly die from it," said Tanya Sutherland.

Sutherland and GRAAB (Going Respectfully Against Addiction Behaviors) has teamed up with the Cleveland YMCA. They've created a summer program that caters to the reality that kids are getting into drugs younger than ever before.

"I had a kid turn around and say 'hey, did you hear about the actor that died from heroin and alcohol,'" Sutherland said.

She says they're going to find out one way or another.

"I'd rather them learn it in a controlled atmosphere than with their peers though experimentation."

Their first class was comprised of 30 kids from ages 11 to 14. All hands on teaching. Lessons like walking with impaired vision, learning what each drug looks like and the toll drugs will take on not just you but those who care about you.

While the 30 in this class don't compare to the much larger number affected in our region, it gives Sutherland hope that it could make a dent in the growing and younger population exposed to drug and alcohol.

"Yes, we would like to make a community wide change, but realistically if we take the handful of 20 and they get to one other person then the ripple effect we've accomplished it."

To visit their website and learn more click here.

 

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