Every year, schools normally host a Drug Abuse Resistance Education week to warn students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.
This year, the Auburn Elks Lodge No. 1691 brought drug prevention specialist Ray Lozano from his home in the Los Angeles area.
Lozano is a public speaker, who goes around the country teaching students of all ages about the dangers of drug use. He talked about the negative effects and awareness of drug and alcohol usage.
After doing his first presentation in high school, he now does around 350 presentations a year, and Newcastle Elementary, E.V. Cain Middle School, Glen Edwards Middle School and Bowman Charter School were all chosen to hear his work.
“It’s never gotten old,” Lozano said.
He starts the presentation by asking students if they know anyone who has a drug or alcohol problem and more than half of the present elementary students raised their hands.
Lozano tailors his classes for the age group, and for Newcastle, he stuck with marijuana and alcohol since he was dealing with a younger crowd.
He talked about one of his daughter’s school friends who was a top student but got into marijuana and ending up dropping out of college.
“Miguel lost what was inside of him,” Lozano said.
The problem with drugs and alcohol, Lozano said, is that the first thing you lose is the things you are good at or care about.
He used words that resonated with a younger crowd about what alcohol does when it hits the bloodstream and went into details about when he worked at a hospital and would see people come in with alcohol poisoning.
“The first thing you lose is the ability to make a quick decision,” Lozano said.
He demonstrated with a few student volunteers who wore “drunk goggles” that imitate what it would look like if you had a 0.17 blood alcohol content.
“Sooner or later someone will offer you something,” Lozano said. “You have to have a reason to be drug-free.”
He asked the students why they wanted to be drug-free and many of the answers included they wanted to go to college or be good at sports.
“Don’t hang out with people who do drugs and alcohol,” Lozano said.
For Lozano, the message was personal after growing up with both parents who drank and did drugs.
He said he had questions about why they would randomly get angry and he wanted to make sure other people knew not to go the same route.
The best thing is when someone comes back years later and tells him that his words changed their life.
“I am in the right spot,” Lozano said.
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