STA hosts all-school informational seminar on substance abuse

In what their informative pamphlet describes as a “refreshingly depressing” presentation, Bob Stutman and Judge Jodi Debbrecht Switalski’s presentation “Welcome to America’s Worst Drug Epidemic” aims to further students’ awareness regarding drugs and alcohol. A private discussion with Stutman and Switalski was provided after the presentation.


Guest speaker Bob Stutman shares his knowledge of substance abuse at an all-school assembly. photo by Gabby Martinez

by Mackenzie O'Guin, Managing Editor of Copy

Today, STA welcomed substance abuse experts Bob Stutman and Judge Jodi Debbrecht Switalski for an all-school assembly, during which the two spoke about their experience in and knowledge of the subject in an attempt to leave students better informed of the nature and dangers of substance abuse.

According to The Stutman Group website, Stutman’s resume includes a twenty-five year career in the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), six of which were spent as head of the DEA’s largest office in the world in New York City, in addition to serving as a drug consultant on CBS, PBS and Netflix programs. Switalski, a “former Metro Detroit felony prosecutor with a perfect trial record,” is an appointed member of the Michigan State Drug Treatment Court Legislative Advisory Committee, according to the website. Both have featured on various television programs to speak of their experience with substance abuse, just as they did today at STA.

Content of the presentation included common misconceptions about drugs, dangerous deceptions of dealers and other realities of drug usage.

“Regardless of what we say here today,” Stutman stated during the presentation, “20 percent of you will never do drugs. 20 percent of you will always do drugs. Our target is the other 60 percent.”

The point of the presentation was not to “tell [students] not to do drugs” Switalski stated, but instead to “educate students and parents.”

“[The presentation is] not just systemic,” Switalski stated. “it’s also about working with administrators to create protocols and create a curriculum to give [students] information. That’s all we want to do, so that when you make a decision, good, bad or otherwise, you do so knowingly.”

Switalski and Stutman told the Dart of plans to meet with STA president Nan Bone and other administrators later this afternoon to discuss STA’s drug curriculum. According to Switalski, they hope for “a collaboration with [Notre Dame de Sion] and Rockhurst High School” in the creation of a new drug education program.

When asked about his goal in coming to schools like STA, Stutman referenced a student at Sion he met upon visiting the school earlier this week.

“[A Sion student] asked a very profound question,” Stutman said. “She asked, ‘How do I say no?’ The question for me is, how is it that in this well-to-do, educated community no one has taught this girl how to say no? Are we relying on divine intervention? My job in this community to get this community to sit down and say, ‘We are not going to lose any more kids to drugs.'”

After the all-school presentation, students were encouraged to attend a “private discussion” with Stutman and Switalski in the auditorium during their grade’s respective activity period. According to Stutman and Switalski, no school administrators were to be in the auditorium, allowing a fully honest and confidential conversation between Stutman and Switalski. Students were permitted to ask any question in confidence, so long as there was no suspicion of endangerment, according to Stutman.

An article regarding STA’s policy on drugs and drug testing will be available on DNO next week.