SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ -- The SPFK12 school district will observe Think Purple Week from March 19–23 to raise awareness about drug and alcohol abuse. The program for elementary school students is as follows:
- Monday, 3/19: “Wear Purple Day.” (If you don't own any purple, wear blue and red.) Purple bracelets and pencils will be distributed to all students this week.
- Tuesday, 3/20: "I Heart Think Purple!" Students will craft creative heart messages for graduating SPF High School students that will be displayed in the hallways near Prom time.
- Wednesday, 3/21: "I am Special! Day." In-class discussion about what makes each child special.
- Thursday, 3/22: "Think Purple Craft Day." In-class craft activities.
- Friday, 3/23: Sock It to Drugs “Crazy Sock Day.” Students are encouraged to wear their craziest socks to school in order to Sock it to Drugs!
Statistics of Drug Use in High School (source: TheRecoveryVillage.com)
Research indicates that 86% of of teenagers know someone who smokes, drinks, or does drugs during the school day. Teens tend to abuse alcohol more than any illicit drug. Likewise, it causes the most harm -- teen alcohol abuse is responsible for nearly 200,000 ER visits and 4,300 deaths among kids under 21 annually. Some sobering statistics:
- 68% of 12th graders have tried alcohol
- 37.4% of 12th graders drank in the last month
- 23.5% of 10th graders drank in the last month
More high school seniors smoke marijuana than smoke cigarettes, and as of 2015, they are about as likely to smoke weed as they are to drink, according to TheRecoveryVillage.com. After marijuana, the next most popular drugs in high schools, according to a high school drug use survey from National Institute of Drug Abuse, are:
- Opioid painkillers
- Synthetic marijuana
- Cough medicine
- Ecstasy (MDMA)
Think Purple Week encourages healthy behaviors and helps children become aware of the dangers of drugs and alcohol in an age-appropriate way. The SPFK12 school system does this to help children be informed, to show that their community cares about them, and most importantly, assure them that they have the power to choose how to care for their bodies. To open the doors of communication at home, below is a list of suggested discussion topics for each night of Think Purple Week.
Monday – Healthy Behavior: Discuss what is healthy vs unhealthy behavior. Is there anything we can change in our daily lives to encourage healthier behavior?
Tuesday – Make Safe Choices: Talk about how we each have the power to say NO to things that aren’t healthy for us. Discuss ways to say “NO”, even role-play situations.
Wednesday – Medicine vs Drugs: Discuss the importance of taking medications only from trusted grown-ups, never take someone else’s medicine, and to never eat anything unless you are positive it is safe. Discuss how many candies and prescription drugs can look the same.
Thursday – Healthy Hearts: Students will write messages on purple hearts to graduating seniors encouraging healthy behavior. Talk with your child about what they wrote.