Each year, Northport-East Northport hosts Recovery, Awareness, Prevention (R.A.P) week to spread the word about substance abuse and important preventative measures. The weeklong event kicked off this year on Oct. 19 with all grade levels finding ways to acknowledge the topic and learn more about how to prevent and address substance abuse.
R.A.P Week began in April of 2012 when a district teacher suggested a substance use prevention day at Northport High School. Since then, the passion and dedication of students, staff and community has expanded the idea, leading to a full week of guest speakers and activities that focus on drug and alcohol prevention.
The district’s substance abuse counselor Anthony Ferrendino shared that R.A.P week is important because the issue affects many families. Whether it’s a loved one who is struggling or a student who is experimenting, substance abuse is widespread and addressing it is crucial to reducing the stigma.
R.A.P week is executed differently at the elementary, middle and high school levels. For elementary schools, the message is heavy on prevention, and discussion topics include positive goal setting and ways to lead a healthy lifestyle. At the middle school and high school levels, there’s more explicit discussion about substances and how to combat substance abuse.
Recognizing that this issue is especially pertinent for high school students, the district typically brings in a variety of guest speakers to address the larger group. Speakers have ranged from professional athletes to former students who are in recovery. This year, the district had guest speakers provide a recording and shared them to a dedicated R.A.P Week site, along with past speaker recordings, and has asked teachers to make the videos a class assignment. This ensures students still have access to the critical information and can either discuss or write down their thoughts about the topic.
“I am beyond thrilled that despite COVID-19, the teams that we have in the buildings were able to figure it out and offer the students what they absolutely need,” shared Mr. Ferrendino.
Photo caption: Students at Fifth Avenue Elementary create artwork to celebrate R.A.P. Week.
Photos courtesy of the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District