The Student News Site of Freedom High School



Say No to Substance Abuse for November

To represent their November initiative, PEER created this poster outside of the cafeteria.

Freedom PEER is doing an initiative for the month of November concerning substance abuse, and especially teen vaping and driving under the influence. The group is working the entire month of November to spread awareness about the dangers of teenage vaping and driving under the influence.

Over the past decade, the popularity of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed. Since 2017, the percent of high schoolers using e-cigarettes has risen from from 11% to 27.5%. This rise in juuling has not been harmless, despite the beliefs of many teens. Nicotine is incredibly addictive, and is almost as addictive as drugs like cocaine. As of this month, there have been 42 deaths related to lung illness caused by e-cigarettes. A study at Cedars-Sinai Hospital this year determined that e-cigarettes are even more dangerous than traditional cigarettes.

Junior Cole Edwards believes that the PEER November initiative is important since it is a common problem within our school.

“Many people don’t understand that the things they put into their bodies can have serious consequences,” Edwards said. 

By including driving under the influence into their initiative, PEER hopes to bring awareness to a less talked about issue. The idea of teen drinking and drug use is discouraged constantly from teachers and adults within the Freedom community, but it is rare that teachers address the dangers of driving under the influence.

Teen driving under the influence is fatal and more than a third of fatal crashes with 16-20 year olds involve alcohol. Also, it is important that teens recognize the dangers of driving under the influence of other drugs like marijuana. Driving under the influence of any drug is dangerous, and marijuana is not excluded from this as it is illegal in the state of Virginia for any driver to be under the influence of marijuana. Outside of drivers’ ed, students at Freedom are rarely receiving this message.

Drivers ed teacher and PEER leader Matthew Markosky feels strongly that this initiative will spread a much needed message to the school.

“I think it’s important because a lot of people don’t understand the ramifications of driving under the influence, or even just being under the influence at all, and what kind of consequences that can lead to,” Markosky said. “It’s statistically proven that your brain doesn’t fully develop and understand risk until you’re 21 years old.” 



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