Meth prevention talk at BMMS

Bennett’s Mill Middle School health teacher Dr. Cathy Folden-Handley unveiled the new interactive methamphetamine prevention curriculum March 26 to her eighth-grade students. The Meth Prevention Lesson will be available to schools statewide. Photo/Special.

An enhanced approach to stopping the use of methamphetamine in its tracks was unveiled March 26 at Bennett’s Mill Middle School. Representatives of the Ga. Meth Project were at the school to hear health teacher Dr. Cathy Folden-Handley teach the new meth prevention curriculum to her eighth-grade classes.

Folden-Handley is passionate about making sure students at Bennett’s Mill Middle have accurate information about choices that can adversely affect their futures, said Fayette County School System spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach.

Berry-Dreisbach said officials from the Georgia Dept. of Education and the Georgia Meth Project were in attendance to watch Folden-Handley deliver the nearly hour-long lesson using the Project’s online interactive teaching site.

Bennett’s Mill is among about two dozen middle and high schools in the state that will start using the curriculum, which is optional and free for districts and schools, Berry-Dreisbach said.

The classroom lessons were developed as a way to reach thousands more students before they try the highly addictive drug.

It is the next step of the project’s campaign that started with hard-hitting radio, television, print, online, mobile and social media advertisements that communicate the risks of meth use, said Berry-Dreisbach.

Jim Langford, Georgia Meth Project’s executive director, told students that Georgia has the worst problem in the country with teens trying meth for the first time. He also noted that experimenting with the drug just once may be a mistake from which they will never recover, alluding to the project’s slogan of “Not Even Once.”

“Methamphetamine is a significant threat in Georgia,” Langford said. “According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Atlanta is a strategic trafficking hub. We are seeing supplies increase and teens tell us meth is easy to get. We need to ensure they understand how dangerous meth is so if they are confronted with a decision on whether or not to try the drug they will make the right choice. With the Meth Prevention Lesson teachers can take that message into classrooms throughout Georgia.”

State school Superintendent John Barge included his thoughts to the significance of the prevention lesson.

“It only takes using meth once to create a lifetime of physical, mental and social problems that cannot be fixed by throwing young people in jail. Preventing first-time meth use is essential,” Barge said.

Statistics show that 20 percent of Georgia teens say meth is easy to obtain.