HIBBING - Teachers at Hibbing High School say drug and alcohol use is troubling Northland teens now more than ever.
“It's very scary right now to be a teen and the types of things that are out there are very scary,” expressed Hibbing High School T.A.D.A advisor Carrie McDonald.
Community leaders are doing everything they can to keep kids away from the negative influences.
"A healthy me, is drug free" is the phrase being tossed around Hibbing High School.
A new club called "Teens Against Drugs and Alcohol" or T.AD.A. has 70 members. Each member signed a pledge to be chemical free for the entire school year.
The group is planning fun events in the school to provide a chemical-free alternative for students.
McDonald believes the program is working because it is the students who are promoting a chemical-free school -- not teachers or adults. They also have a Twitter page to connect with students at the school.
The push for education in the school is so big; Hibbing has also jumped on board with a program called alcohol edu. Their entire 9th grade will take the course, and then teachers will analyze how they did. The goal is to start awareness about how dangerous drugs and alcohol are at a younger age.
According to teachers, it's better to be proactive at a young age than reactive when they get older.
“The world as it is now isn't the same as it was generations ago,” explained Lori Kolden. Kolden is a teacher at Hibbing High School, a member of the Hibbing Chemical Health Advisory Committee, and a parent.“There are much more dangerous levels of drug and alcohol use out there and much more addictive behaviors that come because of it.”
Teachers in Hibbing schools have designed and gone through specialized training to recognize the signs of a student on drugs and alcohol. They say the training has worked so well, the teachers who organized the training are planning on bringing it to the elementary and middle schools.
This month, Hibbing is teaming up with the school on programs to take back unused prescription drugs, bringing in chemical dependency councilors to speak to students, and also get the city to participate in red ribbon week that brings awareness to drunk driving.