North Tahoe marches against drug use |

North Tahoe marches against drug use

Dressed in a uniform of blue T-shirts reading “Ask me … Proud to be drug and alcohol free,” more than 50 people marched through Tahoe City Saturday morning.

North Tahoe middle and high school students ” as part of school-based organization Youth in Action ” were joined by parents, teachers and local law enforcement officials as they marched from the Placer County sheriff’s station to Commons Beach.

“We decided to put this on to support all the kids that are drug and alcohol free. It’s trying to give kids a way to see you can have fun without drugs,” said North Tahoe High School sophomore and Youth in Action member Anja Wittels, 15.

Tyler Turpin, 17, is in the leadership class at North Tahoe High and marched with friends Saturday to advocate for drug-free fun.

“I came out today to promote drug- and alcohol-free kids,” said Turpin, a junior. “The kids are getting bad about drugs, when they see their peers standing up … it shows you can have fun without being messed up.”

The student organization is led by Placer County Community Services Officer Melinda Maehler.

“I do what I do with you guys because my dad died an alcoholic … alcohol took hold of his life when we was 14 years old,” Maehler told her students.

Saturday’s rally ended with fun, games, a barbecue and guest speakers at Commons Beach.

Placer Sheriff Ed Bonner, Assistant Sheriff Devon Bell and California Highway Patrol Chief Sal Segura drove from Auburn and Sacramento to champion for drug-free youth.

“The police, the fire personnel … we see the end result of drugs and alcohol. It’s very encouraging to see young people like yourselves taking a stand,” Assistant Sheriff Bell said.

Sheriff Bonner agreed.

“What I like about this and what gives it the unique Tahoe flavor is the kids organizing it and being the driving force. It’s a great message and it bodes well for the future,” he said.

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