SWEETWATER COUNTY — Well-known prevention speaker and author Michael DeLeon spoke at Sweetwater County schools this week with the goal of steering students away from drugs and alcohol and towards healthy choices.
DeLeon shared his own personal experiences with drug use and the dangers and long-term consequences that come with addiction.
According to DeLeon, the number one cause of death in the United States for people 27 years old and younger is drugs and alcohol. He has made it his life’s purpose to change this, and to help the youth make the right decisions.
DeLeon served a 12-year prison sentence from 1995 to 2007 for drug use and gang involvement. During his time in prison, he was involved in the Scared Straight program, in which inmates will try to scare troubled youth into changing their lives around.
During DeLeon’s presentation at Green River High School Thursday, he said he didn’t enjoy being in the Scared Straight program as he felt it wasn’t the best way to reach children. It was his wife who inspired him to try a different method to have an impact on kids. She told him he should try to get into their hearts, rather than their minds.
“I realized in that very moment that God had given me a purpose… impacting and reaching kids. You’re all I care about,” DeLeon told the GRHS students.
Throughout his presentation, he warned students of the dangers of substance abuse all the way from vaping and marijuana to alcohol and hard drugs. He said he understands he can’t reach everyone, and as much as that breaks his heart, he’ll keep trying by visiting as many schools as he can.