Students learn impact of drug use
Ponca City Now - October 26, 2015 1:26 pm
By Beverly Bryant/News Director
Ponca City students learned about the consequences of drug use during Drug Store, a dramatic re-enactment of the bad choices associated with drug use.
Students were led in silence through several rooms at Hutchins Memorial Auditorium where officers with the Ponca City Police Department showed video of local drug arrests, photos of how methamphetamine is manufactured, and how people’s appearances change over the time they use meth and other drugs.
Just as the photo exhibit concluded, Cpl. Ben Garrison and his K-9 companion Blitz made a sweep of the room full of students. Patrolman Thompson of the Ponca City Police Department arrested 12-year-old Ethan Stobbe for possession of methamphetamine.
He was handcuffed and led from the room of his classmates.
After the arrest, the other students were taken to another room set as a courtroom. Ethan was seated at the defendant’s seat and District Attorney Brian Hermanson served as the judge in his case. Ethan was convicted as a juvenile delinquent and sentenced to the Office of Juvenile Affairs, 100 hours of community service, a fine of $2,000 and court costs. Hermanson also sentenced him to random drug testing and ordered him to remain with his parents. He was given a curfew of 8 p.m. every night until he was no longer a minor and was ordered to meet with his OJA worker every week. In addition, his driving privilege was suspended for six months after he receives his driver’s license.
His classmates advanced to another room, where Ethan was sitting with his OJA worker and a counselor from the Northern Oklahoma Youth Services for their first counseling meeting. The OJA worker explained to Ethan he would be his probation officer and Ethan would be doing community service and have weekly visits.
He was also scheduled to have weekly meetings with the counselor, who told him he would no longer be playing soccer. Because of his choices, she said, he would be starting over in learning how to make decisions and making better choices about the people he associates with.
“You are lucky to be going home today, since this is your first offense” the probation officer told Ethan.
The two then gave Ethan a plastic cup for a urinalysis and instructed him to go in the next room to provide a sample. Instead, Ethan threw the cup across the room and ran from the room.
“That was a very bad decision and you will answer to the judge,” the counselor called after him.
The students then turned to face the back of the room and a divided panel opened to show Ethan at a party with a few friends. He collapsed on the floor, which was littered with beer bottles and drug debris. His friends seemed unsure how to handle the situation but eventually called for an ambulance. Ethan was transported on a stretcher after EMTs were unable to revive him with CPR.
The students were then moved to another room – an emergency room – where nurses awaited the arrival of the EMTs who were carrying Ethan’s stretcher. Even with the best medical care available, the nursing staff was unable to revive Ethan and made the decision to announce his time of death.
The nurses brought Ethan’s mother to identify him and to try to console her. His body remained covered and alone on the stretcher as teachers moved the class to another room.
In this last room stood Lt. Bradley Hargis of the Ponca City Salvation Army, standing at a pulpit next to an open casket.
After a prayer, students were led – by Ethan – past the open casket to see their future if they make the decision to use drugs. They returned to their seat to hear from a final visitor, an inmate at the Kay County Detention Center.
He told the students about his days at the county jail as he serves his sentence for drugs. Every day, he spends 23 hours locked up and has no decision on when he has his free hour for writing letters, exercising or showering.
He and 100 men are confined to their cells and there are frequent fights. He admitted he has been in five fights during this 10-month incarceration, and this is not his first time to be sentenced to the jail.
He told the students to remember when they go home and can play on their game systems that he has a television that only gets three channels, and even when he asks for it to be turned on, it rarely is.
“Don’t make the decisions I’ve made,” he said. “Don’t spend your life like this.”