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Students help peers prevent drug abuse

Heidi Rice
Citizen Telegram Editor

Jose Prado Mendoza saw plenty of drug use when he lived in the Los Angeles area in California.

But now as a senior at Rifle High School, Prado is not only an athlete in football, wrestling and track, he is also an advocate of educating his peers on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

Prado and fellow student, Beau Naphawan Jamjaroenjit, both serve on the statewide “Rise Above” council, which strives to educate teenagers on the dangers of drug abuse.

The teens first heard about the program about a year ago, which at that time was called the “Colorado Meth Project.” The program evolved into the “Rise Above” program last year, which includes a council of student representatives.

The program is a drug abuse prevention organization that provides teens with information, resources and healthy lifestyle alternatives to help them choose a drug-free life.

“The Rise Above Colorado is a drug abuse prevention organization, providing Colorado’s teens with information, resources and healthy lifestyle alternatives to help them choose a life free or drug abuse,” the organizations writes. “The Rise Above team proactively collaborates with teens, educators, community leaders and partners to provide science-based, compelling drugs prevention lessons.”

Jamjaroenjit, who plays soccer, works and is involved in advanced studies certificate work, said she thinks the program works because it’s “teens talking to teens.”

“It’s really kids talking to kids,” Jamjaroenjit said. “Sometimes it’s a lot easier to listen to people your own age. Kids need to feel that it’s OK to trust people and get out of (drug abuse.) We want to go into the health class and talk about the program. Kids need to feel that it’s OK to trust people and to get out of it.”

Mendoza says he’s seen a lot of drug abuse, especially having lived in a bad area of Los Angeles in California until he was eight years old, and says he now wants to help his friends stay away from a life of drug addiction.

“Sadly, I saw people smoking and doing stuff in the bathrooms in California,” Mendoza said. “I know people who do drugs, but some of them won’t listen, because they don’t want to stop.”

Rise Above evolved from the Colorado Meth Project, which targeted the use of methamphetamines.

“We first learned about this in our health class and I think a lot of kids filled out applications to be on the council,” Mendoza said. “

Rise Above Colorado is a drug abuse prevention organization providing Colorado’s teens with information, resources and healthy lifestyle alternatives to help them choose a life free of drug abuse. The Rise Above team meets with teens to provide education, community leaders and partners to provide science-based drug prevention lessons.

“We keep in contact and they provide us with education,” Prado said. “It makes me happy to see people who have gotten off drugs and now live a happy life. I want to let our school and our community know what stuff like meth does. And I want us to tell people if they need help, it’s here.”


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