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Drug House Odyssey a wake-up call for kids

February 6, 2019
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Local school kids on Tuesday learned a lesson on what can happen when you make the wrong choices in life pertaining to drinking and driving.

Students from Oasis Middle School and other schools throughout Lee County attended the annual Drug House Odyssey event at Lee Civic Center that addresses the evils of drinking and driving and how the decisions they make can have lifelong consequences.

It is unusual for middle school students to attend this event, as the program is geared toward fifth-graders. However, as Oasis is starting a SADD program (Students Against Destructive Decisions), it was decided that those kids should attend.

Article Photos


Officer Greg Bueno of the Florida Highway Patrol performs a sobriety test on Isaiah Wright of Fort Myers High School in a scene for Drug House Odyssey at the Lee Civic Center on Tuesday.

Drug House Odyssey is a play in which teenagers make terrible decisions that have tragic ramifications. Members of the Lee County Sheriff's Office, Cape Coral Police Department and the Florida Highway Patrol, as well as Lee County EMS (which brought its helicopter), Bayshore Fire Department and the Lee County District Attorney's Office, actually participate in the event.

"We want to show them the long-term ramifications of drinking and driving, possession of prescription pills and show them the process of us observing a violation where we effect their arrest and start the long-term consequence," said Sgt. James Lear of the CCPD, who arrests a drunk driver in the play. "We want to impact children where they say they don't want that person to be them."

"We've been volunteering for Drug House Odyssey for years. It's been great for us and impactful for the kids," said Jennifer Royal, assistant state attorney who played defense counsel to an accused drunk driver. "We take DUIs very seriously and even juveniles get serious sanctions because we want them to learn from their actions and shouldn't be drinking to begin with."

"We deal with this on an almost daily basis where we run these accidents and people don't realize the dangers of drinking and driving," said Capt. Doug Underwood of the Bayshore Fire Department. "All of us being involved puts a light in the eyes of these kids to realize the significance of saying no."

Students from Fort Myers High School played the role of the teenagers making those terrible decisions. Students like Rolf Julmisse, who said he did this to help people out.

"I think this benefits the kids for them to see the effects of alcohol abuse. I go to people who mentor me and who I look up to like my parents and teachers and think about it," Julmisse said.

Lisa DeWitt, health teacher at Oasis, said the school thought an after school program would get kids involved in realizing what drugs and alcohol can do.

"Pretty soon, they'll be in high school and they'll face all that peer pressure. Watching the scenes from this made it real for them. They got to see the repercussions to their health, scholarships gone, jail and your life is over," DeWitt said.

Chris Reyes, sixth-grader, said he learned that drugs and alcohol can hurt you.

"They affect your body and how you live. It can affect how to drive and smoking can even give you cancer and kill you," Reyes said. "From watching the play, I knew I really needed to avoid all that. Look away and say no."

The public viewing of Drug House Odyssey is Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. Tre Boston, defensive back of the Arizona Cardinals and a graduate of North Fort Myers High School, is expected to attend.



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