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Westchester Youth Declare April 20 (420) as Marijuana Prevention Day

Will gather at the County Center to urge peers to stay marijuana-free

This is a press release from the Westchester County Police: The images of skulls on the steps of the Westchester County Center in White Plains may look like something from Halloween, but the Westchester Coalition for Drug and Alcohol Free Youth had another date it mind when it put them there – April 20.

April 20 is a date where some people around the nation gather to smoke marijuana, but the teen members of the coalition decided to take the concept and turn it on its head. The teens have declared 4/20 as Marijuana Prevention Day and are holding a news conference and rally at 4:20 p.m. Friday outside the County Center at 198 Central Ave. to urge Westchester’s young people to stay drug free.

County Executive Robert P. Astorino applauded the coalition for its latest effort to keep Westchester’s youth away from dangerous drugs.

 “These young people are taking a public stand against marijuana use and are sending a powerful message to their peers. I hope that all our youth will be wise enough to follow their example,” he said.

“It’s a no-brainer,” Rose Arditi, a junior at Byram Hills High School in Armonk, said.  “So many youth are making the healthy choice and staying away from marijuana.  April 20 is a day to celebrate those healthy choices and invite others to join us.”

The Westchester Coalition for Drug and Alcohol Free Youth is an “umbrella coalition” whose members represent 30 local community anti-drug coalitions throughout the county. The goal of the program is to reduce substance abuse among youth in Westchester and, over time, among adults by addressing the factors that increase the risk of substance abuse and by promoting behaviors that minimize the risk of substance abuse. 

The coalition selected a striking visual theme for Marijuana Prevention Day that graphically depicts human skulls with marijuana plants growing out of them.  This visual is featured as “stairscapes” on the steps of the County Center, which will serve as the backdrop for the rally and news conference. 

The “stairscapes” graphic will remain in place through April 24. The same ‘weed’ graphic will be displayed on all digital advertising signs in White Plains.

Vito Pinto, director of the Office of Drug Prevention and STOP-DWI and chair of the Westchester Coalition for Drug and Alcohol Free Youth, also applauded the teens for the message they are sending.

 “This is a very timely event given the results of a recent national survey which showed that marijuana use among teens rose in 2011 for the fourth straight year in a row, in sharp contrast to declines that occurred in the preceding decade.  We need to rally with our youth in Westchester to resist this national trend.”

Being marijuana-free offers young people many health advantages. In addition, at a time when the challenging economy and youth unemployment are a huge concern, youth who are marijuana-free can pass the drug-screening test that so many employers require.

Astorino has also issued a proclamation to mark Marijuana Prevention Day. It reads in part: “It is with conviction and pride that the youth and adult leaders throughout Westchester unite in celebrating the first annual Marijuana Prevention Day to applaud and support our youth who are making healthy decisions.”

Another supporter is businessman Manny Najarro of Uptown Balloons.

“We are so pleased to be a part of this important event. As a business in the community, it is important for us to support the health of our youth since they will be our future employees,” he said.

For more information about the event, contact Judy Mezey at Student Assistance Services, 914-332-1300.

Brandt Hardin April 19, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Marijuana is the safest drug with actual benefits for the user as opposed to alcohol which is dangerous, causes addiction, birth defects, and affects literally every organ in the body. Groups are organizing all over the country to speak their minds on reforming pot laws. I drew up a very cool poster featuring Uncle Willie Nelson and The Teapot Party for the cause which you can check out on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/01/vote-teapot-2011.html Drop in and let me know what you think!
Richard Binkele April 20, 2012 at 12:35 AM
So why don't they have a group like this for alcohol, or would the parents complain?
Debbie Allen April 20, 2012 at 01:05 AM
I support legalization of Marijuana and share the opinion of Brandt Hardin that alcohol use is far more destructive on every level than Marijuana. But doesn't change the fact that Marijuana is illegal and that is reason enough for our youth to leave it alone.There are consequences to be considered beyond the legal problems or drug testing. Secondly, the use of marijuana for anyone while in high school or college is doing themselves an injustice. The grades of a pot smoker will be lower then a non pot smoker. I remember high school in the early 70's and during my period of experimentation, my grades dropped significantly during that time, not to mention other consequences of my behavior that was related to the changes that came by different choices of friends and the interests or pastimes that the lifestyle presented. I totally support Marijuana prevention for Youth. It doesn't matter that it doesn't pose the dangers of alcohol. What matters is that there are no benefits whatsoever for a young person to gain and numerous reasons why using it can do more harm.What is Cool is a young person saying "No Thanks" and not feeling like getting high is what it takes to fit in. Good grades are cool and so are the peers that are willing to give voice to saying no to bad choices. In my opinion I'd rather the legal age be 21 and not 18 yrs old as it is now to be an adult, at least where alcohol and tobacco sales and use are concerned. I'd rather adults have an option of pot over booze.
mjb fresh April 20, 2012 at 01:21 AM
skulls, with weed growing out of them...did Astorini also report that there is a definitive connection between devil worship and listening to bob marley?
Fulton Fish April 20, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Ahahahaha, 420 a prevention day?! I think they'd be guaranteed more success on any other day of the year. What are these idiots gonna do anyway? Canvass all the parks and mall parking lots? Probably just stand in the street and try to raise the "awareness" of any unfortunate passer-bys.
Al That April 20, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Thank God Im not the only one with a sarcastic comment. My heart sunk when I read this ridiculous article and then was restored when I saw my fellow Westchesterians chiming in on the hypocrisy. The entire "Partnership for a Drug Free America" campaign from the late 80's early 1990s was sponsored fro the most part by the pharma companies....The same film production companies that made music videos were PAID to make "This is your brain on drugs" etc ads. BUt look at the abuse of those drugs? Not a chance, and why? BECAUSE OF THE POWER OF WHOEVER HAS THE BIG MONEY. I once "temped" for pharma and I was shocked by the amount of time and money they could afford to waste on the most pointless, unnecessary work. They hire the most delusionally mediocre people, who "feel" important because they are so overpaid. In fact pharma has become the epitome of what most people would envision as the classic "drug dealer" only instead of some seedy pimpy character, they hide behind a conservative front. Recently some kids from Mahopac were saying their town was becoming Night of the Living Dead because of prescription drugs in circulation.
Al That April 20, 2012 at 02:51 PM
I truly believe with all my heart that the propaganda put upon marijuana for all these decades goes hand in hand with individuals ability to farm their own food. In effect fall off the military-oil-industrial complex band wagon that has the majority of the population believing all that matters is that one has a job-not your place to question the politics of the company you sign your soul over to because you have too many kids etc....my point is basically that although legalization of marijuana IS an answer to ALL our nations financial crisis MORE IMPORTANTLY the idiots who create this bs campaigns using tax payer money no less are the real problem. In other word the LIES are ironically so easily fixed by putting just a little ballsy intelligence out there. The science for example! How many people will put a new born baby in a house with newly polyurethaned floors? Consider the infinite amount of toxins in the air we breath, the chemicals we throw around for the sake of convenience
Kevin Sterling April 20, 2012 at 03:36 PM
You people need to do better than this. 4/20 is our property, and we're not giving it back. Go get your own day.
Kevin Sterling April 20, 2012 at 03:37 PM
They were drunk when they came up with this hare brained idea.
Lizzie Hedrick April 20, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Seriously. Today's teens DID NOT invent this. I'm not sure whether I feel old or young reading this.
Slavyavy April 23, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Next up on Yorktown list is St. Patrics day will be alcohol prevention day. What load of crap. Why don't they do something useful like drinking and driving prevention. I graduated from Ytown HS and have a few friends who died form alcohol driving accidents. Ive never heard of any person ever overdosing or dieing form pot. Kiss ass politics . IMO pot is so much more safer then alcohol on all levels. Do your research people .. DARE programs are here to scare kids off drugs then to actually tell the truth about them.

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