Myths and misinformation are two of the biggest obstacles to keeping young people off drugs and away from violence. That from Instructors of Biloxi's 'GREAT' program. GREAT stands for Gang Resistant Education and Training and the Biloxi police officers have been brining this message to 7th graders throughout the school year. At the last class students talked about what they'd learned.
The police investigator told the group that " Young people are actually taking this frog and licking it."
The students couldn't believe their ears. Then the investigator explained how licking a certain kind of frog has the same effects as using LSD. He also said there were people willing to do it to get high.
"Are you serious? A frog?" asked one boy.
"That's nasty," a girl chimed in.
Some middle school students said the more they learned about the effects of illegal drugs the more they realized how little they knew.
Richard Robinson said the most surprising thing he learned was "That crack kills."
Some of the soon-to-be 8th graders say they've already faced pressure to try drugs from their peers who tell a far different story about the consequences.
Jasmine Gates said "Some people like say it's okay to use it and it will help you and they'll not know much about it. "
"We try to help them to determine what's real and what's not real. What's falsehood and what's a myth," said Sgt. Jackie Rhodes. "There's a myth that marijuana doesn't hurt you but it does. It definitely hurts you. It destroys your brain cells. So we just try to give them some truth so they can make more informed decision."
Officers say the GREAT program also teaches young people how to work as a team. So they can support and encourage one another to stay drug free.
Ashley Broussard said "Team work is very important because in our community we need to be able to work together and get drugs out and this helps."
The teens say now that they know the truth about drugs.. they're going to pass it on. On Friday the Biloxi Police Department held a small graduation ceremony for the teens who completed the GREAT program.