HARRISBURG – Substance abuse and the opioid crisis continue to worsen in Pennsylvania.
To assist in getting out the message of drug use prevention to young people across the commonwealth, the state Senate recognized April 8, 2022, as “Drugs Kill Dreams Day” in Pennsylvania, said Sen. Joe Pittman (R-41), sponsor of a resolution creating the day.
The Drugs Kill Dreams (DKD) program was launched in 1994 by Armstrong County District Judge J. Gary DeComo, with the program’s name coming in 2000 courtesy of a local area student (then a fourth grader) who used the slogan “Drugs Kill Dreams” in an anti-drug poster contest.
“Judge DeComo sought to increase drug and alcohol prevention awareness in schools and communities throughout western Pennsylvania, with the DKD program based on the strong belief that if we increase prevention efforts, we will decrease addiction and crimes committed by individuals with an addiction,” Sen. Pittman said.
Published research illustrates that a proactive approach works to reduce substance abuse among young adults if they are part of a community-based prevention effort while still in middle school, with observed significant reduction rates for methamphetamine, prescription drug misuse, marijuana, alcohol, cigarette and inhalant use.
“In partnership with the ACMH Hospital Foundation, DKD is one of several programs throughout the state that partner with schools, churches and other community organizations to share educational materials and prevention messages to young people, sending a critical and clear message to our youth: drugs will kill your dreams,” said Sen. Pittman.
Sen. Pittman added that the objective of these programs is to stop drug and alcohol addiction and abuse before it begins, encouraging adolescents to live healthy, respectful, safe and responsible lifestyles – a goal worth statewide recognition.
“I’m honored to continue the tradition set by my predecessor, Sen. Don White, in recognizing the continued impact of the work the Drugs Kill Dreams program has on youth throughout the commonwealth,” said Sen. Pittman.
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