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Smithtown students pledge 'no' to drugs, alcohol

Several dozen Smithtown students have pledged to be drug- and alcohol-free in an art project on display at a local library.

More than 130 middle and high school students from Smithtown High School East, Accompsett Middle, Commack High, Hauppauge High and Sts. Philip and James schools drew or photographed their pledge.

The pledges, represented by an arrow pointing up inside a circle, are based on the national Above the Influence campaign, implemented by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. The campaign's website states that "Our goal is to help teens stand up to negative pressures, or influences."

The Smithtown Youth Bureau, Smithtown Youth Advisory Board and the Horizons Counseling and Education Center volunteered to jointly manage the project.

"There are some students who abuse drugs, but there's a large majority that don't, and we want to highlight those students," said Kelly DeVito, youth bureau executive director.

Alexandra Berti, 16, of Smithtown, came up with the idea after visiting the national campaign's website and said she hoped it "would bring the Smithtown youth together and educate the community as a whole."

The artwork will be displayed through the end of January in a community room on the lower level of the Smithtown Library, said Julie DeLaney, head of community relations for the Smithtown Special Library District.

"The library always likes to work with other organizations that support the teens in the community," she said. "We hope that the community can see the expression of the teens, their artwork, what they feel is important to them. . . . They're the upcoming generation."

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