There’s something called the ‘stupid line’.
If you cross it, you’re running some pretty big risks; with potentially life-changing consequences.
“The stupid line separates safe and healthy from injured or killed,” said Kaitlyn Kwasney, an educator with the Prevent Alcohol and Risk-related Trauma in Youth (PARTY) program. “It’s all about making the right choices.”
Grade 10 students at Martensville High School (MHS) got a taste of the trauma ward on Friday, October 13 during a day-long series of workshops with emergency responders. Resource people included: Martensville firefighters, Martensville RCMP officers, MD Ambulance paramedics, an addictions counsellor, an emergency room nurse from the Royal University Hospital, and a survivor of an acquired brain injury.
The aim of the program is to give kids a realistic picture of what happens when you overdose on drugs or alcohol, are involved in a motor vehicle collision, or get seriously injured as a result of a high-risk sport activity.
“We give them the facts about risky behaviours and the consequences,” said Kwasney. “We talk about permanent injuries and death.
“These are realities. Injuries are the leading cause of death for people ages 1 to 44. In 2010, there were 15,866 injury-related deaths in Canada. Motor vehicle incidents are the leading cause of death for people ages 15-24.
“On average, 26 people per day are hospitalized in this country as a result of a preventable injury.”
MHS students got a firsthand look at how emergency responders deal with a patient during a simulated medical emergency on the school grounds. In the simulation, a 16-year-old had overdosed on drugs and alcohol. Martensville Firefighters, who are certified medical first responders, arrived on scene and stabilized the “patient” who had a pulse but was not breathing. MD Ambulance paramedics arrived shortly after and administered more advanced treatment.
Martensville Deputy Fire Chief Dean Brooman told the students the scenario happens “more often than you might think,” and urged them to be cautious about what they ingest.
“You like to party. I get that,” said Brooman. “We were young once too. But the reality is that these guys (drug dealers) don’t play fair. They put stuff in there that you have no idea what it is.
“It’s dangerous. It could kill you.”
Brooman encouraged the students to not be hesitant about calling 911 in an emergency.
“We’d rather get a call and arrive to find out everything’s okay, or at least not as serious as it could be; than to not get called or to arrive too late,” he said.
The PARTY program originated in 1986 in Toronto and has spread throughout the world. Kwasney said it’s successful because it actually changes young people’s attitudes.
“We’ve been doing this in the Saskatoon area for the past 15 years,” said Kwasney. “We get pre- and post-workshop feedback from the students themselves, and the lessons they learn do make an impact. It has been shown to change their behaviour.”
Kwasney said the goal is to “get the students to see that all of their choices have a consequence, whether they’re good or bad. We hope to point them toward good choices by helping them understand where the risks lie.”
While this is the first time the program was offered in Martensville, it’s been running in the Rosthern area for the past five years. Kwasney said she is hopeful the program will be offered in other area schools as well in the near future.