(ASAP) It’s spring again, which means many teenagers are celebrating their last prom before graduating high school and beginning a new chapter in their lives, and some are celebrating their first. But in order to have a safe celebration, it is important that drugs and alcohol are not a part of the festivities.
Students from Anderson County, Clinton, and Oak Ridge High School are joining together to remind their peers to be sober this prom. These students form the Youth Ambassador Coalition, or YAC. One of the ways they have worked together is by designing a poster to display and keycards to give out with the tagline, “One Decision Can Change Everything: Make this a night to remember, not a night you want to forget.”
On prom night, students at Anderson County and Clinton High Schools will have the opportunity to take pictures with their friends at a selfie booth. The hashtag #IAMONE will be displayed at the bottom of every photo, reminding them to make safe choices on prom night. Students attending the event will also receive an ASAP of Anderson keychain with a list of resources for help with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
ASAP of Anderson would like to thank the Tennessee Highway Safety Office for providing a grant to support an I AM ONE selfie studio during Anderson County and Clinton Proms. During the months of April-June, typically prom season, 33% of alcohol-related traffic fatalities occur. This selfie studio is to be yet another reminder to make safe, healthy decisions as they celebrate, in hopes to prevent them from being another traffic-related injury or fatality.
Although encouragement from peers and organizations is impactful, it can only go so far. In one survey, three out of four teens said their parents have the biggest influence on their decision to drink alcohol. Parents and caregivers can help keep prom goers safe during their celebrations by reminding their teens that they disapprove of any alcohol or drug use, knowing the itinerary and checking in, being clear that it is never okay to drive or ride in the car with someone who is under the influence, making sure their phone is charged in case they need to reach out, and being available and supportive if something happens and they need to reach out.
For parents or caregivers wondering how to talk with their teens about substances, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration has created the “Talk. They Hear You.” campaign. This campaign provides information to parents, caregivers, educators, and other adults on how to prevent underage drinking and other drug use among minors.
For more information about YAC, the #IAMONE campaign, or how to have these important conversations with your teens, contact ASAP of Anderson at 865-457-3007 or visit www.asapofanderson.org. Follow @ASAPofAnderson on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.