“85 Reveals That Most Teens Don’t Smoke Weed”
On November 7, 2016, the Youth Committee of the Stratford Partnership for Youth and Families launched a town-wide campaign, spreading the number '85' around school and town and asking "Do you ride with the 85?" Youth Committee members put up posters, magnets, sign; chalked sidewalks; and cupped fences with "85" to get people wondering what 85 means. It created plenty of "buzz" with many wanting to know its significance, but the Youth Committee was not telling anyone until the November 21 reveal.
“Lots of people were really interested in what the 85 meant. My friends wouldn’t let me leave school until I told them what it meant,” said Shannon Tripodi, junior at Stratford High School. Chereé Wright, sophomore at Stratford High School said, “Some people thought it was about driving. The campaign stumped everyone.”
On Monday, November 21, 2016, the Youth committee revealed that “It’s NO joke! 85% of teens don’t smoke weed!” The “85” stands for the percentage of Stratford 7-12th grade students that reported not using marijuana in the past 30 days based on Stratford’s Search Institute Survey that over 500 students took in the spring of 2016. In addition, other facts about marijuana use according to the survey were released, including 90% of Stratford teens say their parents disapprove, 59% of Stratford teens say their peers disapprove and 57% of Stratford teens say it is harmful.
Youth Committee Co-Chairs and juniors at Bunnell High School, Hannah McLaughlin Michelle Harrison said, “Covering the schools with magnets on nearly every locker caused the biggest reaction from students and teachers. Everyone was talking about what it could mean, and that was really the point of the campaign. We wanted to get people thinking about the 85 and craving an explanation, so that when it was revealed it meant something to them and encouraged students to ride with the 85. We hope that this campaign will help to increase that number. We thank everyone that supported and helped us spread this message to Stratford.”
Mayor John A. Harkins said, “I am so proud of the leadership and creativity demonstrated by the Partnership’s Youth Committee. This campaign, by and for teens, encourages them to be part of the majority that does not smoke.” Police Chief Joseph McNeil said, “It shows you how great the next generation is.”
The Stratford Partnership for Youth and Families’ is comprised of town and community leaders, youth and parents working to reduce youth substance abuse and create a safe, healthy and drug-free environment where youth and families thrive. For more information, visit www.StratfordPartnership.org/ride85