- Orange County School District
The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT) has teams at two OCS middle schools
A student program with the potential to make an immeasurable impact on OCS students’ lives, recently bridged the gap between two of our middle schools.
The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team (ADAPT) is in its inaugural year at Orange Middle and Gravelly Hill Middle schools. December 9, the two student teams united to receive professional training, bringing them virtually together for a very worthy cause.
The two teams were trained on how to educate their peers about the dangers of drugs and alcohol--but with a particular focus on the harmful effects of vaping. This formal training came from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Region 5 Tobacco Prevention Manager.
To date, the teams at both schools have already demonstrated their commitment by way of student-made videos and morning announcements, and even a campaign during Red Ribbon Week to share information and debunk the myths and misconceptions about vaping.
ADAPT is a voluntary program, offered through and led by school social workers Callie McBroom (OMS), and Kaitlin Mason (GHMS). Students at Gravelly Hill Middle are mostly eighth graders, and they have a “working lunch” once a month during eighth grade lunch. Over at Orange Middle, where more members happen to be sixth graders, the team meets during school intervention time.
McBroom said that in the last four years, she has seen an insurgence of vaping even among students who are younger than eighth graders. Young students are known to bring vaping and e-cigarette products to school to exchange and experiment with.
“I have seen students have serious medical reactions to some of the substances,” said McBroom, visibly upset about recalling the incident. “The dangers are very real, and if we can reach students at an even younger age to warn them about these dangers, the better we will be able to keep students safe and healthy.”
Mason agrees. She said, “We (Mrs. McBroom and myself) have a vested interest in the success of this program, as we are both parents of students who currently attend, or who have graduated from Orange County Schools.”
“Students are more receptive to information when it comes from their peers,” added Mason. “There are short run and long run effects that come from vaping. This program will make a way for students to share their education and information to other students, who will be more likely to listen to their friends. Students need to fully understand the full effects of what they are doing when they choose to vape.”
McBroom said, “The ADAPT program gives students a voice and empowers them to lead. I cannot begin to convey the excitement and energy the kids bring to this! They are so ready and looking forward to educating and taking action for their peers.”
Here are just a few of the reasons why students said they wanted to be ADAPT ambassadors:
- I want to be in ADAPT because I don't like it when people smoke or do harmful things to their body.
- I joined ADAPT because I really believe in its message. I have seen many of my peers turn to drugs and alcohol and I really want to stop that. I've seen people that I care about start to lie and turn into another person just by hanging out with people who make the wrong decisions. I just really want to help people know the bad things it does to you and I want to try and stop drug and alcohol abuse in our school and maybe even farther out.
- I see a lot of kids at school and outside of school vape. When I ask why they vape they talk a lot about how it's not bad for you. I wanted to join ADAPT to learn about how vaping and drugs and alcohol affect you in the long run. Also, so I can prove other kids wrong.
- I know people that do drugs. It's bad for you and your health. It can kill you and give you cancer.
- I want to help people stop vaping and smoking because it is a bad habit. It damages your health.
ADAPT is also made possible by Insight and Orange Partnership. The curriculum for ADAPT comes from Dover to Dover Youth.
Insight is a mental health and substance abuse service provider, which OCS is contracted with to help offer alternatives to suspensions for students who are caught on campus with substances.
Orange Partnership for Alcohol and Drug-Free Youth (also known as Orange Partnership) is a coalition of community members dedicated to reducing and preventing underage drinking and prescription drug abuse in Hillsborough and rural Orange County.
The Cedar Ridge High School and Orange High School Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Teams (ADAPT) are part of the coalition and have been for several years. The ADAPT teams at our high schools are also important advocates in the community and among their peers.
Through collaboration with Orange County Schools, Orange Partnership expanded the ADAPT program into both Gravelly Hill Middle School and Orange Middle School with the goal of training student Ambassadors at an even earlier age to help educate, prevent, and reduce youth substance use in our community.