November 24, 2014


Second drug abuse awareness program coming to Vermilion Schools

VERMILION — After completing the first year of its random drug testing policy, the Vermilion school district has already set up another program to combat the drug abuse epidemic in the district.

Josh Budka, a tutor for Vermilion Schools, along with school administrators, is leading a drug abuse awareness program targeting seventh-graders, which starts this fall.

The program is called Saving A Life Together — or SALT — and focuses on preventing drug abuse at a younger age.

“It’s not to medicate the problem but to prevent the problem,” Budka said of the program, which he described as similar to D.A.R.E. “It’s an answer to a cry for help.”

The program will consist of quarterly talks with students where Budka will speak about drug awareness and prevention, though he plans to be merely a coordinator. Students, Budka said, will lead assemblies and other events to raise awareness and keep the conversation going about drug abuse in Vermilion.

The program comes on the heels of a policy Vermilion Schools established last year to randomly drug-test students who do extracurricular activities and park their vehicles on school grounds. Though Budka said SALT wasn’t formed as a response to the policy, it does spring from the same goal — stopping drug abuse before it starts.

“It’s (created) in connection with the fact that kids are dying,” Budka said.

The drug testing policy — which the Amherst school district also has adopted for the coming year — proved successful, said Vermilion Academy principal Tim Lamb. The academy is an alternative school operated by the district.

Lamb said that along with raising awareness, drug testing gives students another reason to refuse drugs. “It gives them armor to say ‘No, I can’t do that,’” Lamb said.

Lamb hopes that SALT may even inspire some students to volunteer to be tested when they go to high school.

“We’re showing we’re committed to a drug-free lifestyle,” he said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.

  • Bob Dobbs

    What the eff kind of coolaid has this guy been drinking? Here kids lets talk about drugs and how they are all horrible bad things that will turn you into a murderer over night. I hope they all volunteer to take a drug test in high school?? really… seriously, if your lil program worked why would they need to take a drug test they would be drug free riiiiiight? Kids are dying because of scare campaigns full of BS. Tell the kids the truth, at some point you will try alcohol and drugs. You should wait until you are older and out of high school. These are the really, REALLY bad ones and these wont kill you but you prob shouldn’t do them all the time. Otherwise they try alcohol or pot and ask themselves well those didn’t turn me into a loser addict overnight what else did they lie to me about.