TRU program cut by 85% in new state budget

I am disappointed to inform you that the final state budget includes only $2.7M of the required $17.3M to keep local tobacco prevention programs such as our SADD but TRU program, the QuitlineNC, and all of our technical assistance providers such as guest speakers and resources provided at no cost to our county. This reflects not only an 85% cut to the program's funding – which is funded by the Master Settlement Agreement from the tobacco industry, not taxpayer dollars – but it is also a one-time allocation. The wording also specifically prohibits the use of state funding for the statewide TRU media campaign, including the popular and effective “TRU TV” commercials. It remains unseen how this funding will be appropriated, whether through the Department of Health and Human Services' Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch through a grant as it was this year, or reserved for local health departments to use at their discretion.

I realize that the arrival of a balanced budget was a difficult process, and that many other useful programs were reduced or eliminated. I also realize that this is a small program in the general realm of health and education. I believe our legislators did what they could, although with our continued advocacy efforts over the last two years, I am unsure as to why they chose to reduce this particular program by so much, which had proven public support and effectiveness through numerous studies, as well as clear benefits to the long-term health and economy of our state.

Cherokee County Schools, in partnership with the Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Cherokee County, has agreed to continue the local SADD but TRU clubs at a basic level in middle and high schools. It will not be as comprehensive nor as frequent as it has been in the past, but we are delighted and deeply appreciative of their efforts to allow our students to continue to participate in this movement. Meanwhile, our staff are being relocated to other positions.

Thank you for your support of the SADD but TRU program!

Boldly making a difference against teen tobacco, alcohol and drug use

The “SADD but TRU” program builds on the “Teens Against Tobacco Use” (TATU) clubs that have been established at middle and high schools for the past six years. The “SADD but TRU” program was launched last year and now includes education and activities about all destructive behaviors – not just tobacco, but also alcohol, drugs, and dangerous behaviors. “SADD” stands for “Students Against Destructive Decisions,” a national youth drug prevention group. “TRU” stands for “Tobacco. Reality. Unfiltered.” and is North Carolina’s youth-led teen tobacco use prevention movement. These two movements have joined forces here in Cherokee County to provide local preteens and teens more opportunities to educate their peers and the community about the dangers of abusing these substances. While we will highlight real-life dangers of drug abuse, the “SADD but TRU” program will not be sad – we will offer fun, interactive, age-appropriate activities that your child and his/her classmates will enjoy.

“SADD but TRU” is a partnership between Cherokee County Schools’ Tobacco Prevention Program and the Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Cherokee County. Extracurricular clubs are offered in cooperation with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.


Drug-Free Quiz Bowl

The 2012 annual Drug-Free Quiz Bowl was held at Murphy Middle School. The Quiz Bowl is a positive, competitive event in which SADD but TRU members in grades 6-8 test their knowledge of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, legal and illegal drugs in a fast-paced, trivia game show-style format.
The 2011 winners were Murphy Middle School (above left), who defeated reigning champions of Martins Creek Middle School (above right). All of the schools supported their teams by making posters, creating and performing pep-rally style cheers, and wearing school colors, as evidenced by the Hiwassee Dam Middle School team (left).
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