Red Ribbon Week Shines Light on the Dangers of Drug Use


(Photo by Lucia Ruiz)

Enna Hosoi, Reporter

“When I woke up in Torrance Memorial Urgent Care after overdosing in the Trader Joe’s bathroom, I never saw that coming. I thought it was going to be a routine day,” recovering addict and PVHS alum Cole Graham said. 

Every year, Be The Change hosts Red Ribbon Week to raise awareness and educate students on the risks of alcohol and drug use. The major demonstrations of this year’s week included Graham speaking to students about his rocky experience as a former drug addict, a display of a car that had been destroyed due to a drunk driving accident and shoes displayed in Sea King Park to represent the number of high schoolers that die everyday in the US because of drug and alcohol abuse. 

“The purpose of Red Ribbon Week is to spread awareness about drug and alcohol abuse,” senior and BTC executive board member Hayleigh Liu said. “We mostly focus on the effects it has on our student body.” 

Graham spoke to students about his experience and the risks of taking drugs. A relatively happy kid who grew up in Valmonte, he graduated from PV High in 2014. His addiction began as a result of peer pressure to start smoking marijuana, which soon introduced him to a different crowd and more dangerous drugs.

Graham didn’t think anything of it at the time, but then his use of marijuana started to become more prevalent. In his junior year it became a regular habit. 

“I went to a couple of parties, smoked some pot. I never realized how bad it would have gotten,” Graham said. 

BTC created many informational posters that were put up all around the campus to remind and inform PVHS students. 

“We wanted to take on a more serious tone this week because it is a serious topic,” Liu said.