2017 Police Commissioner for a Day Citywide Essay Contest

Jenna Firodimondo

The youth of New York City encounter obstacles such as drug use, which contribute to serious problems later on in life. Drug abuse has become a major health issue among teens. The effects of drug use are long-lasting and can also lead to violence and addiction. Research shows that about 50% of 12th graders have used drugs such as marijuana even opioids. Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death among teens. It is extremely important to understand the major problems associated with drug- use as well as become aware of the severity of this widespread issue affecting thousands of young people all over New York City. I believe that police officers have the important role of protecting youth of our cities as well as to take significant precautions to stop this dangerous behavior from occurring. If I were Police Commissioner for a day, I would implement anti-drug campaigns and meetings at schools within the community. This would help teens understand the many negative effects associated with drug use to improve this high risk issue. With the help of police officers and the community, we can bring awareness about the real dangers of drug abuse and put an end to this serious problem among the city’s youth.

As Police Commissioner, my goal would be for the police officers to raise awareness about the negative consequences associated with drug use. I would initiate positive programs within school communities so that the police officers, schools, and families could work together to prevent drug abuse. Starting ant-drug messages at elementary and middle schools across the city, would teach kids from a young age that drugs are harmful and life threatening. These programs would be an effective way to increase the knowledge of this widespread issue and successfully stop the influence of drug use at a young age. It is very important to build an understanding of the negative effects within the students’ minds through the use of assemblies and meetings to discuss the importance of their health and future. Police officers could demonstrate proper behaviors and other healthy outlets to establish a safe, trusting environment with the students. At these meetings, the students will be able to communicate freely with the police officers about any questions or concerns they might have, which would result in the growth of strong relationships between the students and the police community. Police officers are important role models to the youth of our cities and certainly can teach the students positive behaviors. The young children can play positive reinforcement games, where they can learn the importance of making smart decisions. Teaching the youth in fun, educational settings about the dangers of drugs is a highly effective tool in preventing them from abusing drugs. The more knowledgeable the students, the better informed they will be if ever presented with a difficult situation. Overall, it is crucial for children to start developing healthy behaviors and understand the harm of drugs.

At high schools police officers can arrange special guests to visit and share their stories about how drugs negatively affected their lives. Drugs can impact the brains ability to function and prevent normal development and growth in adolescents. It can lead to problems involving memory, unhealthy habits, and bad connections with the brain. However the effects of drug abuse go way farther than health issues. Substance abuse can also lead to children making bad decisions, which involve criminal records, violence towards others, and there’s also less focus placed on academics and careers. Sometimes these life changing stories regarding damaged lives and relationships and even drug-related deaths serve as true wake up calls for many young people. It’s very important for teens to understand that one second of bad judgement or one choice can result in harm to not yourself but those around you. The experience of guests visiting to share their stories, will reinforce the importance of making good decisions. Schools can also hold meetings with encouraging peer-groups, which will allow the high school students to talk about their feelings and worries. In these peer-groups the students can also use role playing techniques with the help of police officers and their teachers. This will help them plan responses and stand up against peer pressure.

Another idea that I would implement would be to incorporate an anti-drug message into student’s everyday curriculum. This would allow the students to learn in interactive ways through the use of role playing, storytelling, group discussions, and games. These young people would learn about the terrible consequences of drug abuse and addiction in fun ways that engage them, in ways that they will not forget. Increasing awareness should help young people understand the importance of the impact of their choices. Some may think that it’s not important to start spreading the anti-drug message at a young age, but this way the students would be informed of the influences of drugs throughout their childhood. These positive programs that focus on teaching children how to overcome peer pressure and make the right decisions, will help us put an end to this dangerous behavior amongst young people.

Overall, I believe that these ideas and preventive strategies will be very effective in stopping the use of drugs and its harmful consequences. With the help of police officers and school communities, these engaging youth programs should definitely resolve the major issue of drug abuse and the harm it causes those involved. These anti-drug programs and meetings will teach students the importance of positive decision-making and the avoidance of drug use. They will also help students develop strong relationships with the police and school communities. If I were Police Commissioner for a day, I would aim to teach the youth of our city the dangers of drug abuse and the impact that drugs have on their futures. We will put an end to drug use one step at a time to keep the youth of New York City safe!