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KGB Assembly, Just Say No
by Joseph Branco


June 16, 2004

I am genuinely concerned about the outcome of next Monday's budget meeting for the borough. Alaskans for Drug Free Youth is one program on the proposed chopping block. It worries me that they would consider this an appropriate budget cutting approach by gambling with the lives of the youth of Ketchikan. This elimination would have a powerfully negative impact on our community.

As the ONLY program that offers drug education classes to our community's youth, the ADFY program is essential. The ADFY program gives the children in Ketchikan the knowledge they need to make informed decisions when offered drugs. This is a program that our community cannot afford to discard. The negative economic and social impact of eliminating the ADFY program will be far greater than we can imagine.

Children in Ketchikan are faced with the pressures of drug use at school, among friends, and many times in the home. The landscape of modern drug use is ever changing and requires constant attention from experts who can keep the children informed about the inherent dangers.

Alaskans for Drug Free Youth inspires the children of Ketchikan to chase their dreams and helps them to realize that drugs get in the way of that dream. ADFY is a truly loved program in our city with a long and proud history of community service. Drug education is a life saving element of education focused on the children of Ketchikan. The children are the future of Ketchikan. Ask your local teacher if they think ADFY made a difference this year. Pick your favorite grade-school kid in town and ask them if they learned anything this year. They will tell you more than you expect.

MDMA, GHB, Ketamine, OxyContins, Methamphetamines, 2CB, DXM, etc .The landscape is changing, but the battle continues to inform and educate our children to face drugs you may have never even heard of. How do you deal with drug abuse in the home if you don't learn about it in school? Our teachers are already responsible for so much in the schools. The incredible amount of drug knowledge needed to be able to answer every student question is too much to ask our teachers to include in their curriculum. ADFY has the knowledge, the passion, and the dedication to prepare the youth of Ketchikan for the very real pressures they will someday face. Cutting ADFY would be monumental mistake.

If they choose to send this program to the dump, is the assembly going to assume the ultimate responsibility? Lives are at risk. The borough talks about having to make difficult decisions. We teach these children to make tough choices. Do you think it is easy for a kid to "Just Say No"? We teach them how. So, I urge the borough assembly to show the courage to "Just Say No" to eliminating ADFY from the schools.


Joseph Branco
Ketchikan, AK - USA




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