Lacey students were recently honored by the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center (IDRC) of the Ocean County Health Department for their anti-drug and alcohol efforts.
“3-D, Drinking, Drugging and Driving—Always a Choice and Never an Accident” is an event held annually to address the public safety issue of texting while driving and the public health issue of intoxication and driving under the influence, IDRC Director Peter Curatolo of Lacey said.
“I organized this year’s event to really demonstrate how State, County and Municipal governments can work together with schools, businesses and elected officials to deliver a quality product to the public and make real inroads toward preventing these critical issues,” he said.
This year’s event, held Feb. 1, included representatives from the state Motor Vehicle Commission, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, treatment and prevention professionals, educators, law enforcement, county road engineers, state police, policymakers, elected officials, businesses and students.
“As a Lacey resident and someone who is proud of our schools, I chose the students of LTHS to honor above all others in the county this year because of how the students involved in SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) and the Association Against Drugs and Alcohol (AADA) mentor other students,” he said.
The 3-D program, which took place at the Ocean County Mall, essentially recognized the educational and programming efforts of those two high school organizations, AADA advisor Margaret Rand said.
“Students make a commitment to being substance free and to be representative examples for the student body on living a substance free life and being involved in healthy productive activities,” she said.
Students a part of both organizations participate in a Big Brother Big Sister program by interacting with at risk elementary school students in Lacey, she said. They also produce anti-drug shows at the elementary schools.
The efforts of the schools and Municipal Alliance in Lacey are “exceptional,” Curatolo said.
In fact, the township’s prescription drop box was installed at the Lacey Township Police Department the same day as the event, he said.
As part of Curatolo’s responsibilities, he delivers a program to a Municipal Alliance or a school.
“The take-home point you want as an official is for your message to resonate and be there long after you go. In Lacey Township, there is no question that this is the case,” he said. “I always tell the students that it is a pleasure for me to be here talking to you because I never want you to have to come see me.”
The purpose of the IDRC provides a professional education and screening intervention to county residents convicted of an alcohol or drug related motor vehicle violation, according to the Ocean County Health Department’s website.
The 3-D event was well attended, Curatolo said. People in attendance were able to inquire about prevention or treatment and learn what a field sobriety test is really like while wearing Fatal Vision Goggles.
“Maybe you have a loved one that is effected by alcohol or drugs? Maybe you need to learn about options to pay for treatment? I made certain that we had enough agencies participate so you were bound to find what you were looking for and get your questions answered,” he said.
The award from the IDRC was meaningful to the two high school organizations, as students devote much time and effort, Rand said. There are more than 150 students involved in the programs, which are done in conjunction with the Municipal Alliance.
“It’s recognition of the programs conducted here in Lacey Township,” she said.