Students at St. Joseph's Regional Academy in Jim Thorpe know how to say no to drugs.
On Monday, the students were treated to a drug awareness program by Lt. David Midas of the Carbon County Sheriff's Department and Jim Thorpe Police Officer Eric Schrantz. The program kicked off Red Ribbon Week, which is one of the oldest and largest drug prevention programs in the country. Red Ribbon Week runs from Oct. 25 through Oct. 29.
During the sessions, Midas, who is a D.A.R.E. instructor at St. Joseph's Regional Academy, talked to students about the importance of saying no to drugs, helping their peers, and being safe during the upcoming Halloween holiday. He also got a little help during the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade session, from two Drug Enforcement Administration special agents.
Midas explained the program is to help get the kids motivated to stay away from drugs.
He asked students how they could stay safe, as well as urged them to talk to an adult if someone offers them something bad.
"A drug is something that affects your mind and how your body functions," Midas explained to the students, adding that types of drugs can be anything from prescriptions that are not prescribed for you, to some household cleaners. "It's important that everyone remain drug free. You are the future."
He reminded the older students that it is their responsibility to help the younger kids stay safe and drug free.
Midas also asked the students to stand up and pledge to remain drug free.
Midas then turned over the presentation to DEA special agents R.J. Wohlbach and James Matzko.
The pair reiterated what Midas told the students and explained to them that they all have a choice to make.
"Temptation is going to be there so you'll have to have the courage to say, 'It's not for me,'" Matzko said. "You have to be strong on your values and say 'I'm not going to use that.'"
The special agents also showed the students the equipment they use during drug raids.
"Trust your gut," Wohlbach said. "If it's telling you it's wrong, then it is."
Following the presentations, each student received a reflective Halloween goody bag that they could use when they go trick or treating, and a red ribbon.
Activities at St. Joseph's Regional Academy for Red Ribbon Week that are still scheduled include crazy socks and silly hat days; Jell-O day; and a Halloween parade.
The drug awareness program was sponsored by the Carbon County Sheriff's Department and Midas.