EYE-OPENING- Red Deer Rebel Josh Cowen shares his experience at a recent Rotary meeting about Project Keep Straight. Each year

Rebels players help fight drug use

Players with the Red Deer Rebels are visiting Central Alberta schools and telling kids about how making bad choices when it comes to drugs can ruin your life.

Every year six Rebels players, accompanied by Red Deer city RCMP and undercover drug officers in Vancouver, visit the East Hastings area. Drug use is rampant there and the players see first hand how drugs can destroy lives. It’s called Project Keep Straight.

Defenseman Aaron Borejko was one of the Rebels players who spoke at a recent Downtown Rotary luncheon. He described the Vancouver trip as an “Eye-opener. I didn’t expect to see anything like that. What startled me was the openness of the drug use and the openness of the drug addicts to talk about their lives. It’s scary.”

Josh Cowen, a Rebels right-winger, says visiting East Hastings made him realize “How powerful addictions are. It’s a disease. I feel I can better understand it, but it’s not easy.

“I hate needles, but I had to watch (a drug addict shoot up) even though it grossed me out so much. But now I see that the extreme high they get is why they do it. They’ll do anything to support their habit, the women sell themselves, it’s all about the drugs, they can’t control themselves. Some kids get scared (when we describe the drug use and lost lives) and some don’t think it’s real,” he says.

“It’s hard to tell them what it’s like but if I can change one person’s life by telling these stories, I’ve done my job.”

“When you see a guy shoot up heroin right in front of you, it’s disturbing to watch,” says defenseman Justin Weller. “It’s something I never thought I’d see. I’m happy to relay the message (about what I saw) to kids in Central Alberta schools if it will keep them off drugs.”

Bryon Froese, who plays centre, says, “What I took from it, not understanding why people are doing this, and not seeing anything like it before, is that these people are just like you and me and the realization that it could happen to anyone, people in your family, or anybody really. It can happen from just one bad choice in life.”

Assistant Rebels coach Chris Neiszner, a former Rebels player, made the East Hastings trip himself a few years ago and says the hockey players, as role models, can help make kids realize that leading a drug-free life is important.

acryderman@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Red Deer to host portion of Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament

City approves $75,000 in support of 2018 hosting

WATCH: Red Deer RCMP charge two individuals with 198 charges, 29 firearms seized

Tara Veer and Ken Foster credit Pinpoint for arrests and seizures

Motorist dies near Ponoka after loose tire collides with vehicle

Ponoka RCMP seek assistance in locating vehicle belonging to the tire

MC College offers mental health app for all students

MC College has an application to provide students with access to mental health service

FCC host forum featuring sportscaster Brian Williams

The forum is part hopes to educate, reenergerize, inspire and inform producers

CP Holiday Train steams into Lacombe

The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train delighted residents of Lacombe on Dec. 6

2017 word of the year: Feminism

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2017: ‘Feminism’

200 Russians to compete in Olympics as neutrals

The Russian Olympic Committee expects 200 to compete in South Korea

Researchers claim the ‘man flu’ does exist

Review of scientific studies suggests ‘man flu’ may be more intense: researcher

Trudeau appoints Supreme Court chief justice

Prime Minister Trudeau appoints Richard Wagner as Supreme Court chief justice

WestJet Christmas video turns children’s wishes into reality

This year’s annual video took a new spin on the 12 days of Christmas

Firefighters protect seaside California towns as blaze rages

A flare-up on the western edge of Southern California’s largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday

Putin declares victory on visit to air base in Syria

Declaring a victory in Syria, Putin on Monday visited a Russian military air base in the country and announced a partial pullout of Russian forces from the Mideast nation.

Pipe bomb explodes in NYC subway

Pipe bomb strapped to man explodes in NYC subway, injuring 4

Most Read