Northern High trio treks to D.C. for anti-drug conference

Feb. 04, 2013 @ 05:24 PM

For Marcus Williams, it’s something that hit too close to home.

The 15-year-old sophomore at Northern High School lost his uncle less than a year ago to an illness blamed on tobacco.

“I have a personal thing against tobacco and other drugs,” Williams said. “I wanted to do whatever I could to fight it.”

He took that fight to words on the page for an essay contest organized by Durham Together for Resilient Youth (or Durham TRY). Along with two fellow students, April Castillo Lopez and ClaVonna Marshall, Williams won a trip this week to the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America conference just outside Washington, D.C.

“I don’t want people to mess their lives up with drugs,” Williams said. “I feel like I have more fun sober. I can actually remember it; feel it.”

Lopez, a 16-year-old junior, joined Durham TRY in hopes of becoming a leader for the Latino community.

“I haven’t always been around the best people,” she said, “but I’ve always stayed away from drinking and drugs.”

Marshall, 15, is a sophomore. She wrote about the spreading effects of drug abuse in families.

“They don’t just shatter the lives of the people who do drugs,” she said. “They also shatter the lives of the family around them. I’ve seen it. I do not like it. It’s very disturbing. So I want to help. I wanted to let people know. If someone in your family has a problem, there is help available.”

Wanda Boone, who started Durham TRY in 2003, formed the organization to work with youth and adults to promote substance abuse prevention and treatment.

“The more assets a child has at their disposal, the more they can excel in life,” Boone said.

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