Colleen Bangerter, honorary chairman of the Utah Federation for Drug-free Youth, said she was thrilled by the young people's response to a two-day, anti-drug conference that concluded Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City.
In a press conference, Mrs. Bangerter, accompanied by her husband, Gov. Norm Bangerter, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said between 6,000 and 7,000 youths had participated in the conference and constituted part of a team that is committed to make Utah drug-free.Mrs. Bangerter said she wants to see cooperation between parents and young people in solving the drug problem.
Hatch, the final speaker at the conference, said drug abuse nationally has been dropping steadily. He praised Mrs. Bangerter for her efforts locally and first lady Nancy Reagan, who has logged more than 100,000 miles on speaking tours, for her "Just Say No" campaign.
Asked how Utah's drug efforts compare with those of other states, Hatch said, "We've got our problems." He said Utah's many small airstrips make it a prime dissemination point for drugs.
Hatch also said that stricter criminal laws are needed to stop drug abuse, but he added that prevention will have to come on all levels: in the home, in schools and in law enforcement.
Before the press conference, 21 students and six schools were recognized for their efforts in stemming drug abuse in their schools, through a program called Project Teamwork. The 21 students were given trips to Disneyland, sponsored by a local travel
agency. Bonneville, Payson, Timpview, Granger, Clearfield and Bingham high schools each received an Apple computer for their Project Teamwork programs.
Student leaders statewide were challenged last fall by the Governor's Youth Council to provide affirmative drug-prevention programs in their schools. During the year, various schools have held anti-drug assemblies, run information campaigns on drug abuse and organized peer-counseling groups.
Tim Wheelwright, president of Drug-free Youth for America, said student leaders from around the country have been impressed with Utah's Project Teamwork and some are looking at using it in their states.