AHS junior speaks at statewide summit

Published 11:53 pm Friday, May 3, 2019

Andalusia High School junior Patrick McCorvey had the chance to speak on behalf of Alabama high school students at the Alabama Substance Abuse Youth Summit in Montgomery this week

McCorvey said that he was provided the opportunity to speak after Charlotte Spurlin, the sponsor of the Andalusia Peer Helpers, asked him to open up the summit.

“Mrs. Spurlin was the really the one that put me in the position,” McCorvey said. “She came up and asked if I could speak on the topic and I told her that I would. Gentry Slay from the University of Alabama was another student that spoke.”

The Alabama Substance Abuse Youth Summit (SAYS) is the first-of-its-kind, one-day conference that will bring together every group, organization, and agency that fights to protect Alabama’s children to discuss trends, strategies and long-term solutions to the problems of underage drinking and substance abuse.

McCorvey shared his thoughts about youth substance abuse.

“In my speech, I talked about not only parents and adults should spread this information,” McCorvey said. “I believe that other students should spread it to their peers, because in my opinion, I think students listen better to their own peers than other adults.”

Attendees heard talking points from several experts in the field including Dr. Bob Brewer, head of the Centers for Disease Control’s alcohol program; Jim VanHecke, director of TalkitOutNC.org, North Carolina’s anti-underage drinking program; State Superintendent of Education Dr. Eric Mackey, and Dr. Shannon Murphy, a Birmingham pediatrician and recognized expert in child development.

McCorvey said that it felt good to be able to tell his message to several adults that cared about the topic.

“It felt pretty good because I was able to share my thoughts,” McCorvey said. “I feel very passionate about spreading awareness on youth substance abuse because we need to find a way to slow it down or completely stop it.”

He believes that youth substance abuse is a threat to not only the students, but the parents as well.

“We always hear stories about students my age that go through these problems of substance abuse,” McCorvey said. “It always impacts their life in a very negative way. I mean they are either killed, or their life is dramatically changed. It can also affect other people if you make the wrong decision.”

McCorvey said that he learned a lot by participating in the summit.

“I am glad to learn that adults understand that there are some kids my age that are actually against substance abuse,” McCorvey said. “Because most of the time we think that all parents and adults think that we are all for it, but there are a lot of kids my age that are trying to stop it.”

McCorvey said that he wants to keep talking about youth substance abuse to other kids throughout his time in high school and hopes to make an impact.

After graduation next year, McCorvey plans yo attend either Mississippi State University or Vanderbilt University to pursue his degree in education.

He is the son of Demetrius English and Earnest Haslip.