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National Honors For Wyoming Co. SADD Group

PHOTO: Jason Allen of the Wyoming County Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) has testified to the state legislature about his life in the foster care system after substance abuse damaged his family. The Wyoming County SADD group is being honored as one of the best chapters in the nation. Photo courtesy of the Our Children, Our Future Campaign.
PHOTO: Jason Allen of the Wyoming County Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) has testified to the state legislature about his life in the foster care system after substance abuse damaged his family. The Wyoming County SADD group is being honored as one of the best chapters in the nation. Photo courtesy of the Our Children, Our Future Campaign.
October 6, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – An energetic group of student activists from Wyoming County is receiving national recognition for its efforts against substance abuse.

Wyoming County Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) took second in national chapter of the year – that out of 10,000 chapters across the country.

Jason Allen, a senior at West Side High School, says his school’s group has dozens of projects and events going on, in part because many of the students in the group have seen first hand how destructive substance abuse can be.

"Many students got into the group because they want to change Wyoming County,” he explains. “Wyoming County can change, with hard work and dedication."

Among many other things, the group will be working on events for Red Ribbon Week Oct. 23 to 31.

The Red Ribbon pledge is to stay drug free and encourage others to as well.

Allen says his group hopes to have SADD branches in every county school soon.

The group has also been recognized in a number of other ways, including an award from U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

Allen himself testified before the legislature about his experiences growing up in the foster care system, because of the way drug abuse hurt his family.

"When I was seven, my father had overdosed,” he relates. “I grew up with drug-addicted parents. But God always comes through."

The group’s projects include organizing a mountain bike program and plans for a teen closet where students can go to get free clothes and shoes.

The students also planted red tulips at nearly every Wyoming County school and intend to return every year to remind people of the red ribbon campaign.

They'll be sponsoring a zombie run at Twin Falls State Park Nov. 1.

Allen says the run should be fun, but like a lot of things the students do, it will have a message as well.

"If we are doing drugs we will become zombified,” he explains. “We won't be able to communicate with other people. We won't be the same as what we used to be."

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV