Edison Middle students learn about drug dangers

PARKERSBURG – When Wood County Drug Court coordinator Kat Boggs asked Edison Middle School students how many of them knew someone on drugs, more than half raised their hands. She urged kids to have a conversation with their parents.

“They need to know kids around you are doing drugs,” she said.

Boggs was one of several officials who spoke to seventh- and eighth-grade students at Edison Middle School Friday about the dangers of drugs and the county’s drug courts. The program was part of Jordan Mader’s seventh-grade social studies project.

Mader, a 12-year-old student at Edison, said she wants to put the word out about the dangers of drug use to friends and classmates.

“So they don’t have to go through the hardships,” she said.

Mader said drug use starts with kids her age. And she knows kids in juvenile drug court.

Wood County Circuit Court Judge J.D. Beane told students he’s sent people to jail who started drug use around age 9.

“Kids are curious,” he said. “Be too smart to start.”

“I want to show them what happens if they relapse,” Mader said.

Mader’s project grew from a class-wide social studies assignment. Principal Jean Mewshaw said all seventh-grade students are required to do a social studies project. Mewshaw said Mader was a great kid, self-motivated and goal-oriented.

Doing research, Mader spoke with Beane about the program and attended drug court sessions.

“The stories I heard from the sessions I went to make me want to cry,” she said.

The assembly for more than 500 seventh- and eighth-grade students went on for more than an hour. In addition to Beane, Boggs, county Prosecutor Jason Wharton and drug court graduate Bree Alsup attended.

Boggs showed slides of before-and-after meth users, which elicited laughter and groans from students.

“It’s funny until it’s your parents, a relative or your friends’ parents,” she said.