Collegeville– State Senator John Rafferty announced Thursday that his office will be participating in a Senate contest aimed at teen drug and alcohol prevention and awareness. The initiative, known as the “Talk to Your Senator” Video Contest, encourages middle and high school age teens to make a video aimed at ‘peer prevention’.
While the contest does take aim at substance abuse and prevention of all kinds, it also specifically targets the heroin and opioid epidemic. Drug overdoses and deaths related to opioid addiction have skyrocketed in recent years, with suburban communities hit particularly hard. When asked, Senator Rafferty firmly agreed that prevention needs to be the focus for young people.
“Clearly prevention needs to be at the center of any discussion on drug abuse, particularly with our youth” the Senator emphasized. “Whether educating them on the dangers of drinking and driving or raising awareness on opioid and heroin addiction, the goal should always be to prevent tragedy before it happens. The ‘Talk to Your Senator’ contest is a unique tool to help stop the problem before it starts”.
It is expected that Senator Rafferty and his staff will be reaching out to local school districts in the coming days to get the word out about the upcoming contest.
“I want to partner with each school district in our area and support our common goal of protecting young people from the pitfalls of addiction” Rafferty said Wednesday. “This initiative puts teens in the driver seat of drug abuse prevention, allowing them to craft messages to their friends. The concept of peer prevention, instead of peer pressure, is invaluable to ending substance abuse in the Commonwealth”
The specifics of the state-wide contest are straightforward and practical. There are two categories for submission, category one is for middle school and two is for high school. Students may submit their video as a group or individuals, with or without an ‘adult advisor’. Once submitted, the videos will be judged by an independent panel on creativity, content and effectiveness of messaging. For each age bracket the top prize is $2,500, with a $1,500 and $1,000 prize for runners up.
The contest will run through December 10th of this year.