As you likely know, each year we challenge local school kids (grades 5-8) to submit artwork addressing drugs and drug abuse. Roughly 750 kids participated this year, and, since we began this program 21 year ago, over 13,250 kids have participated in the calendar project over the years.
The winners are chosen by scanning the entries so that no judges will know who (or which school) submitted each entry. They are then judged by employees of the Shelby County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as by local narcotics officers.
The winners each receive gift cards purchased with funds forfeited from local drug dealers.
We are also having 3,500 calendars featuring the art printed for distribution to local vendors, where the calendars will be free to the public (again – funded by funds taken from local drug dealers).
According to the CDC, 93,331 Americans died directly from drug overdoses in 2020, and even more died from drug-related issues, such as impaired driving crashes, other accidental injuries attributed to drug impairment, other health problems directly resulting from drug abuse, and suicide (adding up to an estimated 570,000 deaths per year).
A recent study found that tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs cost the United States over 700,000,000,000 per year in costs related to crime, lost work productivity, and health care (which equates to roughly $2,200 for each man, woman, and child in the U.S., and over $79.9 million per hour).
The vast majority of all robberies, burglaries, and thefts are committed to support drug addictions, and the majority of all murders are drug-related.
We do a number of things to address these issues in Shelby County. We take an aggressive approach on the dealers who are slinging dope in Shelby County – working close with our narcotics investigators.
We were the first Prosecutor’s Office in the state to initiate a Vivitrol Program (to help those addicted to opioids), and we also initiated a treatment program for lower-level offenders that begins in the jail (called the Jail Intervention Program).
The design of the program is to get local kids thinking critically about drugs and the cost of drugs to the individual and to society. And the submissions show that the kids are getting the message – a message that we hope they will carry with them into adulthood and spread it to the next generation.
The winners of the Anti-Drug Calendar Contest are:
1st place – Nola White (Loper Elementary)
2nd Place – Chloe Tragesser (Morristown Elementary)
3rd Place – Elise Parker (Hendricks Elementary)
1st Place – Calen Faulconer (Southwestern)
2nd Place – Addison Wooten (Shelbyville Middle School)
3rd Place – Macey Robbins (Shelbyville Middle School)
1st Place – Alyna Castanon (Shelbyville Middle School)
2nd Place – Bradley Theobald (Morristown)
3rd Place – Emelyn Mota (Triton)
1st Place – Vanessa Garcia Julian (Shelbyville)
2nd Place – Anna Willis (Southwestern)
3rd Place – Olivia Lahey (Southwestern)
Cover: Chloe Boggs (5th Grade) (Loper)
Grand Prize: Addy Marshall (7th Grade) (Shelbyville)
The submissions were great this year, and we had a number of honorable mentions: