Drug and Substance Abuse Specialist Ray Lozano spoke to students at Ozarka College in Melbourne recently about the reality of vaping and substance abuse on their lives. Below, Lozano visits withs several Calico Rock students at the presentation.
Angelia Roberts, Special to the SRC
Almost from the moment Ray Lozano, a took the stage at Ozarka College, students from area schools were fully engaged in learning how drugs and alcohol can destroy their future.
“Every student in this room has been given some kind of amazing talent, ability or skill that will actually take you through life. Drugs and alcohol will take that away from you. Sometimes, they will take it so slowly that you don’t even know it’s gone. What bothers me the most is seeing kids that are going to be amazing lose that with drugs or alcohol.”
Lozano asked how many were good at sports, music, mathematics and even video games, saying somewhere someone was using those same talents on a professional level.
“Drugs and alcohol will take that all away from you.”
Lozano said when he was their age, he stayed in trouble for talking and keeping students laughing with all his jokes. One teacher, decided detention was not helping and promptly deposited him with the theatrics teacher saying “He has too many words inside of him, he needs to get them out.”
“That teacher saved my life.”
Years later, after becoming successful by talking for a living, he contacted her and thanked her.
He told students, “Teachers know the cure for cancer might be in this very room. The first kid to get water in a Third World Country might be in this room or the person that is going to save the global climate problem. Drugs and alcohol will take that all way from you.”
When Lozano asked how many students know classmates that were good at sports but had dropped out because they started using weed and alcohol or kids who were really close to their parents but were no longer getting along with them, the majority of them raised their hands.
He then addressed how they are a target audience for E-Cigarettes and vapes.
Lozano said lessons had been learned from previous lawsuits against the tobacco industry so companies are up front about nicotine in their products. “They know if they say it enough, nobody will even hear it.”
“If I asked you to come back with something from your house that has nicotine in it but it cannot be an E-Cigarette, a JUUL, a vape or regular cigarette, a cigar, pipe, nicotine patch or gum or your grandmothers’ purse because she carries cigarettes, and it cannot be that one brother-in-law that smokes cigarettes all day long. It cannot be a tobacco product at all, but you all have it in your house?”
No one could answer what that might be, but tried with shampoo, chicken, walls, pencils and beer.
Lozano said it was probably underneath their kitchen sink.
The answer was bug spray.
“If you took one pack of cigarettes and removed all the nicotine you would have a little over a drop. If you took that drop and put it on your tongue or skin, it would be enough to kill you. If you took a JUUL pod and removed all the nicotine out of that you would have a little over a drop.”
“Nicotine is a form of poison Every time you see the word nicotine, think two things. One it’s a poison and two, it separates out body parts.”
He explained the poison causes the addiction and gave an example of how the brain has stop and go levels.
“When somebody jumps out and scares you, it hits your go button. The brain instantly sends a signal to the stop button to keep you from punching them.”
Lozana said when somebody pulls in on a cigarette, E-Cigarette or JUUL the nicotine hits the go button but not the stop button.
“Students, this is why it is so easy to start smoking and so hard to stop smoking. All it takes is three cigarettes to cause the addiction.”
“Back in high school if somebody my age smoked one cigarette on Monday, one cigarette on Wednesday and one on Thursday the tobacco industry almost owned them. If they smoked that fourth cigarette or the entire pack and bought another one the tobacco industry knew they could count on this person for the next 50 years giving them money.”
“For you guys, JUULs are even worse. Students can actually develop an addiction on day one from using it. Everything goes into the system.
“How many people know somebody who has tried to quit smoking two or three times and failed? The tobacco industry knows this. They know if they can get you to try it a couple times, they pretty much own you.”
He explained that one student questioned him about how he could have an addiction when the packaging claimed to have zero percent nicotine.
“This is how awful the tobacco industry is. In Los Angeles, they tested 1,500 packages of vape juice and what they found that is 98 percent had large amounts of nicotine in that product.
They do the same things with Tic Tac candy, saying it does not contain any sugar, but they are almost 100 percent sugar, Lozano said.
“If something contains less than one gram, you can say it’s sugar free, so the tobacco industry used that same formula in its marketing.”
He then showed a photo of a lung.
“What comes out of the back of an E-Cigarette, JUUL or vape comes out at 450 degrees. Every time somebody uses one of these products it cooks a tiny portion of the lungs.”
“Don’t let drugs and alcohol take away the thing that has been given to you. If you are talker, learn when to talk and when not to talk. If you are great with animals, work with animals. If you are great with spelling, work with spelling. But understand this, the younger you are when you start using drugs and alcohol the sooner it becomes an addiction.”
At the close of the program, one student showed Lonzo, who is from California, how to call the Hogs.