It was part of the school’s Drug Free Club assembly, where many students have already joined the club.
Mothers spoke through tears about their children’s deaths.
“He took cough medicine and huffed air, and he had a massive heart attack,” said Missy Mazeska of Martins Ferry, whose son Jacob died in January 2014.
He died after one week on life support.
“It’s a devastation that no one can understand unless they’ve been through it,” said Mazeska.
“Somebody had given my daughter some Xanax,” recalled Stephanie Wheeler of Wheeling. “Obviously a lot. And the next day, she took her own life.”
Wheeler said her daughter’s friend took his own life, months afterward.
“You don’t know what a drug will do to you,” noted Wheeler. “Every drug has a different effect on everybody. You have no clue.”
Students at Shadyside High School have already signed up for the Drug Free Club in impressive numbers.
‘We have roughly 380-390 students that are in the building,” said John Triveri, athletic director, “And about a third of them, at this point, have signed up. I think that’s tremendous.”
The mother’s heartfelt stories appeared to prompt even more to sign up.
Club members take random drug tests throughout the school year.
In exchange for staying drug-free, they get free passes, discounts, gatherings and field trips.
There are also in-school rewards.
“They can have an opportunity to have a free homework pass, a coupon for bonus points for a certain class and a coupon that would allow their lowest grade to be dropped,” said Triveri.
But the biggest reward is one they may not recognize yet–freedom from addiction.
“Don’t take the chance,” warned Mazeska. “It’s not worth it.”