ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Advanced Recovery Systems (ARS), a leader in behavioral healthcare management, and the Miss Florida Scholarship Pageant have announced their collaboration to educate high school students about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. As the spokesperson for the partnership, Miss Florida 2016 Courtney Sexton will be visiting schools across the state for a "Real Talk" with students.
"I am very excited to get started and address a serious problem teens are facing every day," said Courtney Sexton, Miss Florida 2016. "Many may not even realize how quickly misusing drugs or alcohol can become a full-blown addiction. I hope to use my time as Miss Florida to spark conversations among students that this isn't cool—it's dangerous and potentially deadly." Sexton's 40-minute "Real Talk" presentation is based on prevention techniques included in The Alcohol Literacy Challenge™, developed by nationally-recognized researchers Michael Dunn, PhD and Thomas Hall, PhD. The Alcohol Literacy Challenge™ is the first classroom-based prevention program that specifically challenges students' beliefs about the effects of drinking alcohol. Sexton will use this curriculum as a springboard to educate students on the risks associated with newly emerging drug trends and equip them with skills on how to abstain from dangerous behaviors. Nearly 1 in 4 high school students have been offered, sold or given illicit drugs on school property and more than 58 percent of 12 th graders have used drugs in the past year. Approximately 35 percent of 12 th graders have consumed alcohol in the past month—and alcohol is responsible for about 4,300 deaths of people under age 21 each year. In addition to well-known substances like marijuana and alcohol, teens have also started abusing common household items, like cough syrups, cleaning solutions and aerosol cans, to produce a high or hallucinogenic effect. "With our nation's tragic addiction epidemic on the rise, we believe that education and support during this formative time can be critical in preventing substance abuse and empowering teens to make healthy choices in the future," said Allison Walsh, Vice President of Business Development for Advanced Recovery Systems. "We are thrilled to partner with the Miss Florida Scholarship Pageant and Courtney, who can help us break down the barriers surrounding these important issues and create meaningful conversations that will help to save lives." How to Get InvolvedMiss Florida is currently accepting requests from schools within Florida, for students grades 8-12. To request a presentation from Miss Florida at your school, visit www.DrugRehab.com/real-talk/educators. To join the conversation on social media, use #MissFLRealTalk.