COLUMN: Happy to be Making a Difference through S.A.D.D.


A few months ago, I visited Boyertown elementary school as a member of S.A.D.D. (Students Against Destructive Decisions). We gave a presentation to the 5th graders about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. When I was asking the kids what they knew about drugs, one boy said, “My dad says that smoking cigarettes is worse than smoking meth.” I was flabbergasted.

Before I joined S.A.D.D., I knew drugs and alcohol were a big problem, but it wasn’t until after I  joined that I realized just how detrimental and serious a the was problem it was. S.A.D.D. stands for Students Against Destructive Decisions. A lot of people may think that we mainly put up posters warning people not to drive distracted or drunk. But that is not the only thing we do. The club teaches its members leadership skills, and empowers young people to successfully confront the risks and pressures that challenge them throughout their daily lives.

Another eye-opening moment with S.A.D.D. was when I went to the Berks County Peer Leadership Summit. At this conference, I got to meet with students from across schools in Berks County. I participated in group discussions about what students like me can do in our schools to aid in the fight of the drug and alcohol epidemic. At the conference, we discussed the results of the PAYS (Pennsylvania Area Youth Survey). The results showed that Berks County has the highest drug use among high schoolers out of all the counties in Pennsylvania.

I plan to join S.A.D.D. again during my junior year and am applying to become a S.A.D.D. officer. I have a lot of out-of-the-box ideas for fighting drug abuse within our school, including going beyond hanging posters and making a more direct approach to alert students to the dangers of drugs. I would like to talk to students directly about smoking weed and vaping, because these are problems that teens face in their everyday lives.

Overall, joining S.A.D.D. is the best decision I ever made. I am taking a stand for change. I know this change is not going to happen overnight, but I encourage everyone to become educated and get involved because they can help out in their community.