Etowah County SAP educates Etowah High School
Friday, October 12, 2012


Substance Abuse Program participants visit Etowah High School

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 6:09 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 6:11 p.m.

Bobby Jackson said, when asked, that he wanted to be an oceanographer.

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Inmate Colton Works, a former Etowah High School student, tells his story to students as part of the Substance Abuse Program band presentation at Etowah High School on October 11, 2012.

Eric T. Wright | Gadsden Times

But that was before he was arrested with crystal methamphetamine.

Seven men from the Etowah County Detention Center's Substance Abuse Prevention Program visited Etowah High School Thursday, telling students about choices they made and about life in jail.

One of the men, 20-year-old Colton Works, said that two years ago, he had been where the students are now and was on the Etowah High football team.

“A lot of what decisions I made where y'all are sitting today affected where I am today,” Works said.

He said he made one bad decision after another and ended up in jail, having first been arrested on drug possession charges in 2010. He said he would be in jail for five months.

Scott Hassell, chief of corrections for the Etowah County Detention Center, said between 60 and 100 inmates are part of the SAP program. The men who came to Etowah High are part of the program's band, which uses music as therapy.

Deputy Sheriff C.T. Thompson said the prevention group meets five to six times each day, talking about behavioral changes and what they'll do when they get out of jail.

Hassell said the group began traveling to schools and churches six years ago.

Thursday's program was the second of four times the SAP band will speak to different groups at Etowah High during their hybrid class period. The events are part of a weeks-long program Attalla Police Capt. Jerry Bone and Sgt. Dustin Harris are organizing on law-related education.

 

“We preach to them all day long, but they'll hear something from someone who's actually been there ... maybe it will strike home,” said Harris, who is a school resource officer at Etowah High, along with Bone.

 

A few students in the crowd indicated they knew Works or 19-year-old Devan Brown, who most recently was arrested in July for possession of a controlled substance.

 

Brown said he was “smoking weed” when he was a student at Gadsden City High School.

 

Jeff Colegrove, assistant principal at Etowah High, said he thinks that more than anything, the life experiences of the SAP program participants are relevant to the students.

 

Colegrove, who said Brown was one of his students, added that the close proximity in ages also may have an impact on the student body.

 

“Mainly we try to educate and give them the opportunity to be successful, and impact thier decision making", he said.


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