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Addiction: Teens must hear from other teens

Jackson Simmons, a 13-year-old student at Hamilton Middle School, put it better than most adults could have when he talked about the double-edged sword of substance abuse.

“I know there are a lot people who get into Juuling or smoking or even drugs because of peer pressure, but they don’t feel like they can stop because they’re alone,” he said earlier this week, while discussing his school’s participation in Red Ribbon Week.

While a week of door decoration, pajama days, wearing a red ribbon and earning prizes can do a lot for educating kids on the dangers of substance abuse, there is no substitute for kids knowing someone understands what they are facing. Simmons and his fellow student, Hamilton National Junior Honor Society President Lily Davis, also 13, are an important part of what makes Red Ribbon Week work. They are peers, not distant adults talking down to kids.

Davis, Simmons and other members of the NJHS are spending this week visiting classrooms, not just to hand out those prizes, but also to let their fellow students know someone their age is with them in this fight.

“I’m hoping they will earn they’re not alone and they can get help,” said Simmons.

Thanks to his and the other students’ effort, just maybe, they will.

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