Viewpoints: Red Ribbon Week, Avoiding the Pressures Around You

“I was just a tween when Plano landed on the map as the “teenage wasteland” (Texas Monthly Jan. 1999) as a result of heroin use and the nineteen student deaths due to overdose.”


On Monday, Middle School choir teacher, Mrs. Lisa Gervig, spoke at the Fifth and Sixth Grade Chapel on the meaning of Red Ribbon Week. Lion Nation Online asked her to recount some of her message for all of us.

Red Ribbon Week was a big deal for me as a child. I grew up right here in Plano at Spring Creek and Independence in a time when Plano was still growing. Frisco was a two-lane road and Prosper was nothing but land. At my elementary and middle school, we learned infamous slogans like “Just Say No” and heard stories from moms who were a part of M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). We learned facts about drugs and alcohol from members of D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and speakers were brought in who had been physically injured or severely affected by overdoses or accidents.

 I was just a tween when Plano landed on the map as the “teenage wasteland” (Texas Monthly Jan. 1999) as a result of heroin use and the 19 student deaths due to overdose. Plano was growing and a fairly picturesque community in the mid-1990s – better than most. But, as a result of several criminals with a calculated motivation to distribute heroin in Plano, it quickly became the center of the heroin epidemic. It wasn’t via cell phones or social media that dealers distributed to high school students of all kinds; students used pagers to contact a dealer. Unlike other drugs, heroin produces a quick and easy rush to the user, which is why it was so appealing.  Students at Plano Senior High School got addicted and fast. High school kids with very bright futures caved to the drug in as little as one use. As a middle-schooler, I didn’t know too much about this epidemic, but as time passed, I did witness some of my peers take a different path and withdraw from school, sports, things they love, and their friends to become engulfed in a world of addiction; alcohol first, and then drugs.

 We all have choices, and while the community has come a long way from that time, I would argue that it’s far easier for young people to get access to even more and most anything than it was back then. Which means that it must be even harder now for students to not only say no, but to avoid the pressures that surround them. It might be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. If you are a student who has dabbled in drug use, distribution or struggled in this area, ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” Question how your addiction or one-time use might affect your friends, your family, your future spouse, your university or future career. What will it take for you to realize there is so much more in life?

 2 Timothy 2:22 New International Version (NIV)

“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, along with every hidden thing, whether good or evil…”