LONG BEACH, Miss. (WLOX) - For the third year in a row, a leading expert in the field of vaping and youth drug trends, Michael DeLeon is spreading a message of health and preventative measures students can take to live a healthy life.
This program is called Steered Straight, and it brought him to Long Beach on Monday. There, he spoke with students and parents about vaping’s harmful effects, as well as the long-term effects that alcohol and tobacco can cause.
“Raise your hand if you know a kid that used to be real involved in sports or extracurricular activities, and now, they’re not,” DeLeon said. “Raise your hand if you know they’ve been vaping, and they’re addicted to it. Of course.”
In 2019, he spoke at 616 schools in 40 states. During his talks, he teaches sessions that he believes are vital because they educate teens with relevant information such as what can be found in vape pods.
"Right now, the number one cause of death in this state is drugs, right now the number one cause of accidental death is drug overdose,” he said. “I'm not here to talk to you about drugs. I'm here to talk about how drugs and alcohol affect the brain."
DeLeon doesn't pull any punches when he talks to teenagers.
“Because you guys are vaping, little tiny particles of lead are entering your respiratory system,” he said. "You don’t see it, but you will. Trust me, you will.”
That’s why he has a plan called “Success for Teens," and after the presentation he had students sign this pledge to stay away from drugs, tobacco and alcohol as teenagers.