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Mississippi Teens Learn How to Keep Themselves, Peers Off Drugs
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Substance abuse among teens in Mississippi is an ongoing problem, but one organization is teaching kids what they can do to keep themselves and their friends off drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. 
 
That was the sound of a simulated car crash, the kind of thing that could happen when a person drives drunk.  
 
That's the message the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence conveyed to teens at their Total Truth Youth Leadership Conference in Jackson, yesterday.
 
The council's Executive Director Jenny Crutchfield said by combining interactive simulations -- like the car crash -- with small-group discussions, students learn about the effects alcohol, tobacco and drugs have on them, their families and their community.
 
"A lot of the myths and misconceptions that teens have, we're hoping that today by having them be in these interactive sessions that that will kind of trigger to them 'Hey, I really thought this was okay, but I can see for myself -- based on the simulator -- that tells me I don't need to do that." said Crutchfield.
 
According to data collected by the Office of Adolescent Health, nearly quarter of Mississippi teens have tried alcohol before the age of thirteen, and more than a third of high school students have tried an illegal drug or controlled substance. 
 
Jamie Sproles is a student at Brookhaven High School. She said she has heard teens talk about using controlled substances, but now she hopes she will be able to use some of the things she learned at the conference to help her peers.
 
"You know it's good that the conferences and workshops like this, where people can learn about these things and get informed about it." said Sproles. "I think that this will at least give the base knowledge of everything so it will be easy to go back to spread  information, because I will already have sense of understanding behind it." 
 
The number of Mississippi teens using controlled substances like alcohol, drugs and tobacco is actually on par with the rest of the nation.