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Shown above are, from left, Valley High School Principal Dr. Sherry Ashe and RN emergency room nurse Linda Dutil, who presented her "Dose of Reality" program to students.


VALLEY – Students at Valley High School were given a genuine “dose of reality” Friday during an assembly program presented by Linda Dutil,  RN emergency room nurse from the state of Maine who currently travels across the country, talking to elementary, middle, high school and college students about making proper choices in their lives. The interactive program used student volunteers to demonstrate exactly what happens to a person in a hospital emergency room who has overdosed on drugs, alcohol, or any other harmful substance.


            “One of two things immediately takes place to rid the body of the substance the patient has ingested,” Dutil told students. “They can either voluntarily drink a thick, chalky charcoal mixture or, if they refuse, it will be administered by a tube inserted through their nose and into their stomach. Either way, we have to completely empty the stomach of its contents before any more of the ingested substance enters the bloodstream.”


            In addition to the sobering live demonstration, Dutil addressed some of the myths commonly associated with teenage party activities.


            “When a person has had too much to drink, their friends think they are doing them a favor by putting them to bed to sleep it off. But in reality, this is entirely the wrong thing to do,” said Dutil. “If the inebriated person is lying on their back, they could regurgitate and actually suffocate on their own vomit. It happens all the time.”


            Instead, Dutil said the person should be laid on the floor and on their side to prevent such suffocation.


            Another main topic of discussion focused on the prevalent use of e-cigarettes by teenagers, who are led to believe that the effects of “vaping” are less harmful than conventional cigarette smoking.


“In reality, most of these vaping products contain nicotine, the same harmful chemical found in tobacco. In addition, these products are available in virtually every flavor you can imagine, which makes them particularly appealing to young people. However, these additives result in direct damage to the lungs,” said Dutil.


The program concluded with a video presentation featuring photos of drug users before and after the ravaging physical effects of their addiction. In each case, the individuals aged dramatically in a very short time span, suffering weight and tooth loss along with skin sores.


By sharing her experiences as a nurse, Dutil said she hopes to help students consider the consequences of poor choices and enable them to develop healthy attitudes about life.


“The emergency room is the last place anyone wants to visit,” Dutil stated. “My goal is to make a lasting impression on young people across the country. I want to empower them with the skills they need to make good choices to stay healthy and safe.”


“If we can positively impact the life of just one person, programs like this are worth our time and effort to share,” added Valley High School Principal Dr. Sherry Ashe. “We want to do everything we possibly can to help our students avoid the tragic consequences of poor choices.”


More information about Linda Dutil and her life-changing program is available at

By David Bell

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