BHS Drug Free Club Celebrates National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week with Over 400 Members

By Trina Runner on January 29, 2018 via Connect-Bridgeport.com

In December, West Virginia was named as the nation’s leading state in drug overdose deaths.  There are some communities that put their heads in the sand about the epidemic.  Bridgeport is not one of those.  With a supportive community and tenacious law enforcement officers, the city has made great strides in its war on drugs.  Three years ago, the Drug Free Clubs of America was initiated at Bridgeport High School, educating teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
 
This week, the club celebrates the 13th Anniversary of the Drug Free Clubs of America as they continue to inform and protect students during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week.  Led by Anita Horner, the BHS Drug Free Club has grown from 90 students the first year to over 400 students this year, each pledging to be drug free and willing to be randomly drug tested. 
 
For employers in the Mountain State, this means that these students will not only be academically prepared to enter the workforce, but they will also have a record of being drug free, making them much more employable. 
 
Horner has spent the last 35 years of her career sponsoring clubs such as RAZE, SADD and now Drug Free Club, all with the same mission of helping students make the right decisions when offered drugs, tobacco or alcohol.  This year, J.D. Lister joined as co-advisor to the club, and together, they are encouraging students and providing resources to ensure their success.
 
The BHS Drug Free Club participates in many community prevention and education activities promoting the positive message of living a 
drug-free lifestyle.  Opportunities for scholarships are available through the club and many local businesses offer incentives for those who pass the random drug tests.  Last year, the club was honored by the FBI in a ceremony in Washington, D.C. for their community efforts.
 
This week, student members of the BHS Drug Free Club received t-shirts with this year’s national motto, “If not us, who? If not now, when?”  The club makes it easier for students to say no to drugs by simply stating that they could be tested with no prior notification.
 
“We cannot pretend like our students are not being pressured to use drugs, because they are,” said Horner.  “We are giving them the tools to say ‘no’ and to know they have a whole army of support behind them.”
 
Lister joined the group this year with the hope that the Drug Free Clubs can expand to all area schools.  He celebrates the many students who are taking action and committing to a drug-free lifestyle and commends the continuous support of the community.
 
BHS alumnus Brianna Stogran wishes the club would have been around when she was in school.  She began lived the horror of drug addiction first-hand and would like to see the club in middle schools in the future. 
 
“It’s never too early to educate about the dangers of using drugs and alcohol,” said Stogran, who will be celebrating 30 months clean next month.  She has used her experiences to warn students and parents of how important it is to start the conversation.  “These addictions do not discriminate,” she said.
 
BHS Senior and Drug Free Club member, Jeffrey Chalfant, has seen the difference the club has made. 
 
“It is so much easier to say ‘no’ from the start.  It is possible to get clean later, but can be challenging,” he said.  “I know too many people who have had their lives destroyed by making poor choices and I want to do everything I can to help save lives and save families who are affected.”
 
The BHS Drug Free Club is very appreciative of the partnership they have with the City of Bridgeport, who currently funds the drug testing at the school.  They have also received continuous support from the FBI Alumni Association.  White Lightening Contracting, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, Diamond Street Car Wash and other local businesses and individuals have provided coupons and gift cards to be used to reward the students who pass drug tests. 
 
For anyone interested in learning more about the BHS DFCA Chapter or for any individual or business interested in helping to sponsor the club, please feel free to contact Mrs. Anita Hornor at aehornor@gmail.com or Mr. JD Lister at jdlister@k12.wv.us. You may also access the DFCA website at www.drugfreeclubs.com and the National Institute on Drug Abuse website at www.teens.drugabuse.gov.
 


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