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Rockville Centre students fly above the influence at substance abuse awareness program

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Students and community members came together on June 14 at the Sandel Senior Center for Fly Above the Influence, the eighth annual Substance Abuse Awareness Program hosted by the Rockville Centre Youth Council.

At the event, held in partnership with the Rockville Centre Coalition for Youth, the Council sent off its high school seniors, and Mayor Francis X. Murray swore in the incoming officers.

In a room adorned with colorful kites with anti-drug messages, Youth Council members were recognized for their service to the group. Andrea Connolly, chairwoman of the Rockville Centre Youth Council, also presented the Paul and Elaine Arden Award to members of the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, which partners with law enforcement and community groups to implement substance-abuse prevention strategies.

The award is named for Connolly’s parents, who have supported the Youth Council since its inception.

The task force has come to many of the Youth Council’s monthly meetings; gives updates on drug use in Nassau County; has given presentations on the dangers of vaping; organizes drug-free social events; and has mapped with students the hotspots in Rockville Centre known for underage drug and alcohol use, which are then shared with Rockville Centre Police.