H-TEMPLETON

Feb 5, 2013 9:20 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Teens get a lesson from local inmates

"My first experience with addiction was with my dad, he sold and used cocaine throughout my childhood," said Dixie Howell, an inmate in San Luis Obispo County, "The way a I grew up, drug raids, fights, and extreme violence was a common occurrence."

Templeton high school students get a hard dose of reality from a few doing hard time.

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office visited Templeton high school Tuesday as part of its teen outreach program.

It allows inmates to share their stories with students in hopes of preventing them from making the same mistakes.

"I remember sitting in your chairs my senior year in high school, thinking that this could not happen to me," said Erin Soqui.

It's a popular phrase among teens, but today inmates from the San Luis Obispo county jail helped Templeton high students realize, it can happen to them.

"As time went on my addiction progressed," said Howell, "I went from doing a line on the weekend with my friends to doing a line every morning by myself just to get out of bed."

This is not a scared straight program; these teens are getting to hear firsthand what it means to face addiction and a life of regret.

"You would think my friend's death would make me want to get clean but instead I spun out of control," said Howell, "It didn't matter how high I got, I couldn't numb the pain and within a few weeks I found myself in jail again."

This is the harsh reality of substance abuse, crime and the consequences that follow. The young people in attendance today heard them loud and clear.

"Makes me think about what could happen to me and I know that I really don't want to get into that," said one student.

"I just can't believe it only takes that little bit," said a freshman in attendance, "It just takes those first few times and then it becomes really big."

"We're coming here because we want to be here and we don't want to see you make the same mistakes we did," said Howell.

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