New York Teen Athletes Join Cause Against Substance Abuse

It may sound easy to others, but when a school athlete tries to share his views against drugs and substance abuse to his team, it can be one of the most challenging situations he’ll ever be in.

no to alcoholSuch is the case when Gabe Keding, a junior at the Onondaga Junior-Senior High School tried to get his teammates to sign a no-alcohol pact. Hefelt resistance from some members of the team just because he was doing his part in promoting a new substance abuse prevention program.

The program dubbed as Honor the Code aims to educate and prevent alcohol and substance abuse among the youth, targeting student athlete leaders. Four schools have already taken part in the program, namely the LaFayette, Marcellus, Onondaga, and Skaneateles who all sent two athlete leaders from their institutions who will help promote Honor the Code program.

The program was started by a non-profit organization, Prevention Network, focused on educating students on drugs and substance use and addiction. They are hoping that the student athlete leaders will be able to get as many students to sign and abide by the athletic code in their schools, which is mainly about not using drugs and alcohol especially among those involved in sports activities.

Prevention Network coordinator for Underage Drinking Prevention Philip Rose says the program has been well received by both athlete and non-athlete students, parents, and school officials over the past year.

“The culture of young people is to say, ‘This is just what we do.’ It’s accepted, like smoking used to be,” he said. “We want these athletes to want to honor their bodies and their brains, and not hurt their competitive edge.”

Rose has been one of the many volunteers who have been giving talks about alcohol and substance abuse to students at schools he visits. At the end of each school year, parents and students will be surveyed to see if the program made any impact in the community.

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