Ferndale Mirror: Federal cuts may hurt SADD

Mar 30, 2006

Ferndale High School senior Erin Furze knows what drugs can do.
Her 15-year-old cousin died of an overdose.

"I didn't want to see him in a casket," she said between tears. "He's not going to meet any new people. He's not going to college."

So she became a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions, a non-profit, nation-wide organization offered in her school that educates students on how to keep themselves and their friends from underage drinking and using drugs. The group also educates students on teen violence, teen depression and suicide.

"If we can just change one individual...if it's just one life then it's worth it," said Abigail Ashmore, SADD student president.

That's why U.S. Rep. Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak) wants to keep drug and alcohol prevention programs from becoming extinct.

"This shows the importance of grass roots activities because it does sometimes seed up and blossom," Levin said.

The morning of March 23, Levin met with students like Furze, school administrators, teachers and city officials at Ferndale High to discuss the importance of programs that encourage students to be drug and alcohol free.

Levin told the group that the Pres. George W. Bush may cut funding that supports school programs like Students Against Destructive Decisions and a similar groups like Students Taking A New Direction. Levin wanted to gauge local reaction and then report it to his Washington colleagues.

Levin told the group that the Bush Administration's 2007 budget proposes $12.8 million in cuts to grants that support substance abuse education programs in Michigan alone

"Why it matters is this: This is a nationwide program, the proposal would eliminate the entire statewide program," Levin said. "Our hope is, we will have sessions like this and we're hoping that the people in communities across the United States will speak out and the money will be returned."