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'Project Purple' helps local students say no to drugs and peer pressure

By ALLISON NORLIAN

NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. (WKTV) - A group of New Hartford students have made it their mission to say no to drugs. The teens who created a chapter as part of a National 'Project Purple,' organization spread awareness and their mission on Thursday night at the New Hartford high school girls basketball game.

Throughout middle school Cooper Deck, a Sophomore at New Hartford high school found himself friends with kids who pressured him negatively.

Deck said, "When I was in 7th and 8th grade I was hanging out with the wrong crowd but I wasn't doing anything bad. Just because I was with them people perceived me as doing the same things the crowd was doing."

That is until he found project purple, when he decided enough was enough, " I just separated myself because it was the best thing to do," Deck said.

Project Purple is a national initiative of The Herren Project, a nonprofit established by former NBA basketball player Chris Herren. The organization's goal is to assist families struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Herren himself spoke at New Hartford high school sparking the interest of the project.
 
According to Rachel Madden, a junior and part of the organization, Project Purple friends are the best to have, "  Finding a group where everyone has same goal gives you a lot more confidence to make those decisions."

Especially in high school, she said.

" I think it's important because high school is the time where some kids get on the wrong path and it's never too late to change."

The group also won first place in the state for a national Project Purple Project. They won fourth place nationally.
 

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