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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 06, 2012, 06:53 PM

Otter Tail County students get a lesson in healthy living

Fergus Falls, MN (WDAY TV) - There's a strong message being sent to students in Otter Tail County to make good choices. It's Youth Health Day, and instead of focusing on staying fit and eating right, speakers are tackling tougher issues.

There's a strong message being sent to students in Otter Tail County to make good choices. It's Youth Health Day, and instead of focusing on staying fit and eating right, speakers are tackling tougher issues.

Some students say they'll never do drugs.

Kate Rinke – Fergus Falls: "My friends and I have already made pacts, if any of us do anything we're telling their parents and getting them help."

Odds are, at some point during school, they'll encounter someone who does.

Detective Kevin Sonstebo – Fergus Falls Police: "The average age we start to experiment, to think about chemical use, is about 12 years of age."

Detective Kevin Sonstebo is teaching Otter Tail County 9th graders about chemical abuse.

Detective Sonstebo: "We start to see a little more activity in the party scene and pill parties a little more drinking, maybe tobacco use."

Sonstebo says teens this day and age are now turning toward prescription pills or cough syrup to get high. Something School Resource Officers are hoping to stop before students start."

Kate Rinke: "This isn't something you'd expect to be learning about, drugs and alcohol crashes on Youth Health day."

Detective Stonstebo: "Part of it is building the relationship with them while they're in the school buildings."

The life-changing consequences, stemming from bad decisions with drugs and alcohol are driving the whole day.

Noah Strom – Fergus Falls: "A lot of that stuff goes on in high school. I’ve heard from friends and stuff that that happens."

Sonstebo says sometimes it's hard to reach the students, but even if they save one life, it's worth it. Students also heard about healthy relationships, drunk driving, and internet safety.

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