Tewksbury High School “Students Against Destructive Decisions” (SADD), were asked to create positive messages bringing awareness to substance abuse and other dangerous behaviors. In collaboration with the Tewksbury Police Department and the Substance Abuse Prevention Collaborative (SAPC), this mural was created in the spring of 2019. Students were asked to think about underage drinking and other drug use within their peers and design positive messages to highlight healthier behaviors.
As communities all over the commonwealth struggle with the opioid epidemic, we strive to help decrease addiction by emphasizing positive messages within our youth. Changing social norms is a process that does not happen overnight. We have learned that merely telling someone “not” to engage in risky behaviors is not enough, and often an unwritten invitation to experiment. Teens have informed us through discussion and surveys that they are mindful that underage drinking/drug use is dangerous and can bring heavy consequences but feel like the associate tragedies “will never happen to them”. They become weary of hearing the same negative “no” messages over and over. We feel strongly that providing them with clear articulable facts and supportive education better prepares them to make their own healthier decision.
Visit the mural located at the Tewksbury Public Library and the Tewksbury Recreational Center. Look for more involvement from our students in the fall as the Town of Tewksbury teens strive to make policy changes that help create a positive social norm. Any questions or if you wish to be involved please contact Maria Ruggiero, the SAPC Program Director at 978-382-4989