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PARTY program comes to F.P. Walshe school

F.P. Walshe school students played a game of giant Jenga wearing goggles that simulate the effect of being impaired by alcohol. Matthew Possin removes a block.

Fort Macleod Fire Department staged a mock accident scene as part of the PARTY Program.

F.P. Walshe hosted the PARTY Program last week to educate grade 10 students on the risks of drug and alcohol abuse.
The PARTY (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) is an initiative of Alberta Health Services.
RCMP Sgt. Bryan Mucha discussed distracted and drunk driving.
Another speaker, Courtney Peckford, focused on the effects of drugs and alcohol.
Speaker Tami Buroker talked about mental health.
As part of the PARTY program the students also heard personal stories from young people who had experienced trauma.
Wiktoria Timofiejew was biking home from volleyball practice in Taber when she was hit by a drunk driver, who fled the scene.
Timofiejew spent four weeks in a coma at Foothills Hospital in Calgary. She suffered bleeding in her brain, a damaged lung, a broken arm and lost hearing in her right ear.
After eight months in hospital Timofiejew was allowed to return home, but she wasn’t ready to return to school.
Four years later, while at a party Timofiejew was drunk and got in a fight with her now ex-boyfriend. In need of a ride home she got on a dirt bike driven by a friend, who was also intoxicated.
Timofiejew’s friend crashed the bike and Timofiejew fell unconscious. Her friend went back to the party and brought someone back who performed CPR and called the ambulance.
Timofiejew suffered another scar on her brain and lost her sense of smell.
Timofiejew is now recovering and attending college, with aspirations to become a doctor.
Jason Francis grew up on a farm just outside of Medicine Hat. Both his parents are alcoholics.
Francis grew up playing sports, but began to make negative choices in his life, which led to “the worst day of my life,” said Francis.
Francis was under the influence of cocaine in a stolen car with two passengers.
Francis sped away from police, who had identified the stolen vehicle, lost control of the car and crashed into a tree at 138 km-h, killing one of the passengers and injuring himself.
Francis was put into a coma for 7 1/2 weeks. He suffered two brain hemorrhages and was forced to undergo spinal tap surgery once a week for six months to relieve pressure in his brain.
After being released from intensive care, Francis spent another eight months in hospital.
Francis took part in a program to re-learn simple tasks, from walking to sitting straight.
Two years after entering the program Francis was sentenced to six years in prison of which he served three before being released.
Francis has been studying to become an addictions counsellor to help prevent people from following a similar path in life.
The final speaker grew up in Claresholm and suffered from addictions to Fentanyl.
Justin grew up abusing drugs during high school before moving to Canmore for a job.
While working in Canmore Justin got a roommate who was also abusing drugs.
Justin began to share his roommate’s drugs without knowing what he was taking.
By the time Justin found out he had been abusing fentanyl he was severely addicted.
Justin told students about a trip to Calgary with his roommate to pick up more fentanyl. Justin used his last $30 to buy more drugs.
While on their way back to Canmore Justin’s car ran out of gas. Justin felt he had no one to turn to so he called the manager at his job to help him get back to Canmore.
Two days after running out of gas, Justin suffered an overdose on fentanyl.
Justin attempted to quit abusing fentanyl immediately afterwards, and moved home to recover.
Days after being home Justin was rushed to the hospital because of dehydration.
Justin switched from using opioids to crystal meth, and quit his job to move to Calgary.
“This was probably one of the worst decisions of my life,” Justin said. “Drugs were easier to find, and the dealers began to know me by my first name.”
Justin lived with an aunt until she found out he was abusing drugs again and kicked him out.
Justin lived on the streets of Calgary for six months.
Justin soon began to owe people money, and he decided he needed to change his life.
Justin moved back home, but kept finding himself drawn to the same crowd.
One night after a fight with his friends Justin was arrested by police and charged with possession of drugs for the second time in a three month span.
Justin was sent to Lethbridge Correctional Centre for 2 1/2 months.
Justin went through rehabilitation, but found himself in a relapse.
This relapse allowed Justin to see that he was falling into the same path of life, so he removed himself from people in the lifestyle.
Justin plans to work with the PARTY Program to educate high school students on the dangers of abusing drugs and alcohol.

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