Drug House Odyssey under way at Lee Civic Center
Every year, Lee County fifth-graders take a trip to the Lee Civic Center to learn about the ramifications of making bad choices.
This week, thousands of 10-and 11-year-olds will come to North Fort Myers to participate in the 26th-annual Drug House Odyssey, a walk-through play that illustrates the deadly effects of underage drinking and drinking and driving.
And for the second straight year, a local NFL player will participate.
The Coalition for a Drug-Free SWFL will once again sponsor the event, which opened Tuesday and continues Wednes-day and Thursday. Also taking part are the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Cape Coral Police Department the North Fort Myers and Bayshore Fire Departments the Office of the State Attorney 20th Judicial Circuit, Lee Health, students from area high schools and many more.
Deborah Comella, executive director of the Coalition for a Drug-Free SWFL, said this event is about teaching kids about drunk driving and drinking prevention event.
“Data shows that the age of onset is 10, so we target fifth-graders for the event,” Comella said. “We try to encourage kids to talk to their parents and teachers about making good decisions.”
The three-day event will have the schools come in during the daytime walking through the six-scene play, guided by LCSO deputies and other law enforcement.
The play includes a party scene, the field sobriety test, the courtroom, a crash scene and the trip to the emergency room, where one of the key players dies.
“The courtroom scene tends to be the most popular because some of the kids and even the adults have never been in a courtroom,” Comella said. “We’re careful to reflect what a real feel of a courtroom is like.”
Today, from 5-7 p.m., Carolina Panther defensive back and North Fort Myers High School alum Tre Boston will once again visit Drug House Odyssey Family Night. Boston will visit with Drug House Odyssey participants following their tour through the prevention program with families, scout troops and youth groups. It is free of charge and no reservations are required.
“We hope this will start a discussion about making good choices and alcohol and drugs,” Comella said.
Comella said the coalition also has a video that encourages kids and parents to act out situations where you’re at a party and are offered drugs or alcohol.
“A lot of families have a secret text where if you’re in trouble, text and have them come and get out so you can throw them under the bus and say their dad wants to pick them up,” Comella said.
The Lee County Civic Center is at 11831 Bayshore Road, North Fort Myers. For more, go to www.drugfreeswfl.org.