Teens gather for anti-drug training

(WISH Photo/Logan Skidmore)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Teens from across the country are in Indianapolis learning how to convince their peers to say no.

It’s part of a federal training problem led by the White House Office of Drug Control Policy.

New Palestine teenager Courtney Smith has seen the impact drugs can have on her peers first hand.

“Just seeing how it has affected my friends and other people in our community, how it’s affected their sports and academics,” said Smith.

It’s why Smith and hundreds of other teens are in Indianapolis learning the best ways to influence their communities.

“We know that local problems require local solutions and there’s nothing more effective than our community coalitions,” said Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Botticelli says using teens as the carriers of the message to say no to drugs and alcohol is working.

We’ve seen remarkable results. We have over 700 of these community coalitions across the country and they’ve really shown dramatic results in reducing substance use at the local level,” said Botticelli.

The White House said fewer teens are using drugs and more are aware of the consequences,

It’s progress that teens just like Smith are spurring.

“It really gives all of us a bigger picture of what we can do,” said Smith.

Part of the federal government’s role is providing grants to community coalitions that facilitate youth and adult participation in no-use programs.

Communities can be awarded up to $625,000 over five years.

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