By Michelle McKenna
Mira Costa’s People Achieving Complete Equality group hosted the “They Lied” assembly, in which five speakers spoke about drug and alcohol awareness and their own experiences with substance abuse, on Oct. 28 as part of Costa’s Red Ribbon Week.
PACE, Costa’s student outreach organization, put on the assembly for Costa students. Speakers included Katie, a recovering methamphetamine addict; Alex, a recovering methamphetamine and heroin addict; LG, a recovering alcohol and drug addict and his mother Lisa; and Blitch, a recovering alcohol and drug addict who now works at a rehabilitation center.
“I know how teenagers feel,” LG said. “I’ve been there, and I even know some people watching who did drugs with me. I was on ecstasy, mushrooms, cocaine, and meth and lied to myself. I didn’t want to face the fact that I needed help, but I want kids to realize that it’s not too late.”
This year PACE’s Red Ribbon Week theme was “They Lied,” which represented the idea that teenagers often hear lies glorifying the use of drugs, whether they come from themselves or from their peers.
The purpose of the theme ‘They Lied’ was to remind students that everyone is capable of lying, and in a world where drug and alcohol abuse is common, lies are especially prevalent.
“‘They Lied’ gave a new, interactive theme to present to the Costa student body, in which students could engage in and actually anticipate what the assembly would be like,” sophomore PACE student Sammy Macedo said. “We thought it would stir up some conversation, and we were right. ‘They Lied’ reminds us to watch who we surround ourselves with, analyze the atmosphere we put ourselves in and question peoples’ motives.”
Rather than trying to force opinions regarding an issue directly into the student body, PACE tries to inform students of first-hand interactions with drugs and alcohol, allowing them to develop their own insight.
The speakers hoped the assembly would prompt at least one addicted student to get help.
“I know that most people aren’t listening when I tell them my story,” Katie said. “But if one person is in trouble, I want them to know that someone is out there and that they care. I want everyone to know they are not alone.”
Each year, PACE organizes various activities, such as Red Ribbon Week, to raise awareness about substance abuse. Its goal is to promote knowledge about the issues that affect students in both the present and the future.
“PACE is a group of students who work extremely hard to reach out to students who may relate to or need help in discussing the issues most teenagers face on a daily basis,” Macedo said. “PACE students are a resource for those who may need help or someone to talk to.”
PACE plans to continue the Red Ribbon week assemblies in years to come.
“We work incredibly hard on each assembly as a group, and the outcome is fabulous because of our teamwork,” Macedo said. “I hope that all of the future assemblies are as influential as this assembly was.”
PACE has been planning this assembly since the beginning of September, and according to PACE students, their hard work paid off.
“We in PACE are all very proud of our annual Red Ribbon Week assembly that took place last Friday,” Macedo said. “I think ‘They Lied’ was one of the best assemblies we’ve planned.”