High on art
Nashua artists join with Drug Free World
By Adam Coughlin firstname.lastname@example.org
For better or worse, drugs and art have had a long romance. From the Beatles to Ken Kesey to Jean-Michel Basquiat, drugs have influenced some of the works that have influenced us. But in Nashua on Saturday, June 12, a group of volunteers will use art to discourage kids from drugs.
The windows of 100 Main Street in Nashua have been lined with the works of 12 local artists since May, and starting at noon June 12 there will be a gallery presentation, according to Barbara Andrews, a featured artist and organizer of the event, along with Meri Goyette. As the presentation goes on, artists will be handing out free drug awareness pamphlets, DVDs and packets for educators. Following the gallery, there will be a march past windows showing pieces of art, from paintings to stained glass, toward the Nashua Public Library, where at 3 p.m. there will be a showing of the documentary Real People-Real Stories on the Truth About Drugs.
Drugs are a national problem, according to Nashua Police Narcotics Lt. Scott Hammond. He said there has been a slight increase in the use of prescription drugs due to the poor economy but for the most part the use of cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin have remained the same. Hammond believes the number of youngsters being arrested for drug use is declining.
“Personally, I have not seen as many juveniles using,” Hammond said.
An aggressive drug awareness campaign has been conducted by the Foundation for a Drug Free World, a non-profit organization that makes educational materials available in 125 countries.
“Our approach is to show what is in drugs and what they can do by people who have used them,” said Darren Tessitore, director of Drug Free World New England. “Programs like D.A.R.E. teach kids what drugs are like, which might increase use. We show them that Meth has battery acid in it and ask why you would want to pay to consume battery acid.” Tessitore knows first hand the dangers of drugs. He said in his youth he lost several friends to drugs and that is why he has worked to get people off drugs.
Andrews was surprised the organization was not more popular in New Hampshire. In fact, this is the first such event. She said on the West Coast the address of the website www.drugfreeworld.org is painted on the sides of police cars. She came across the organization while volunteering at her church and reached out to Tessitore.
As a young girl Andrews was prescribed prescription drugs and she feels many kids are being misdiagnosed.
“I understand how someone can so simply become addicted,” Andrews said. “Even if a doctor gives it to you.”
She said the purpose of such an event is to remind kids, and anyone really, that painting or playing in a band or sculpting is a form of communication.
“I feel that a lot of kids today don’t have a chance to be creative or be themselves,” Andrews said. “In school they feel confused and left out and will do anything to be popular. But art makes you special. It brings peace to yourself and happiness to the world.”