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Tours won't be pleasure trips for Waynesboro students

The "Save A Life Tour" and the "Reality Tour" will inform students in the ninth through 12th grades about the dangers of drug an

The "Save A Life Tour" and the "Reality Tour" will inform students in the ninth through 12th grades about the dangers of drug an

September 23, 2006|by DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Students in the Waynesboro area and Franklin County will be going on a pair of tours this year, but neither is designed to be a pleasure trip.

In November, 11th- and 12th-grade students at Waynesboro Area Senior High School will experience the "Save A Life Tour," while some county youths will take the "Reality Tour" beginning in October. Those programs were introduced to community leaders Friday during a luncheon at the Savoy Restaurant.

By the time they are seniors, 78 percent of Waynesboro Area Senior High School students have tried alcohol and more than 30 percent have used marijuana, according to the 2005 Pennsylvania Youth Survey.

Alcohol use is above the national average, and marijuana use is above the statewide rate in Pennsylvania, said Alecha Sanbower, a program planner for the county.

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Another statistic is 500,000 - the number of Americans killed or injured in alcohol-related vehicle accidents. K. Marilyn Smith of Waynesboro Area Communities That Care said the "Save A Life Tour" might keep the community's youngest drivers from becoming statistics.

"This is graphic, so be prepared," Smith said as she played a video about the program, which included images from car crashes and emergency rooms, and an interactive drunken-driving simulator.

"Save A Life" will return to Waynesboro next spring, when 9th- and 10th-grade students will take the tour, Smith said. She said Communities That Care wanted to expose those students to the dangers of drinking and driving before they start to drive.

The "Reality Tour" originated in Butler, Pa., and Franklin County will use it over the next five years to illustrate the dangers of drug use, said George Reitz, a prevention specialist with Franklin-Fulton Drug and Alcohol.

The monthly tours will be staged in the county courthouse, and be mandated for some juvenile offenders, who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, Reitz said. Others also may register for the three-hour tours, he said.

The tour, which uses volunteers, actors, law enforcement and medical personnel, will feature a mock arrest, an overdose death and a funeral, along with videos and talks by recovering drug addicts, Reitz said.

A drug dog might be used in the mock arrest, but that resulted in unintended consequences in another county, Reitz said. Instead of honing in on a student who was to go through the arrest process, the dog sniffed out a parent who had used marijuana before the tour, he said.

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