Gums rot and teeth become so destroyed they fall out and become brown.
A group of five Northern College paramedic bridging students presented a slide show on the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol yesterday at O'Gorman High School.
One of the images shown was of "meth mouth," one of the harmful effects of taking crystal methamphetamines.
"The image of someone with 'meth mouth' will be a good deterrent for teens," said paramedic bridging student Grant Belcourt. "Part of one of our classes is to do a presentation in high school and teach them the effects of drugs and alcohol. Paramedics should have a proactive role by trying to educate people."
Students learned the basics about different drugs, their street names and how they can also be mistaken for other drugs.
"The presentation was interactive and kept me interested the whole time. I especially enjoyed how it was created to relate to our age group," said Tina Fraser, a Grade 9 O'Gorman student.
Drugs have always been a problem in high schools, explained O'Gorman head of student services Kelly Ann Marks.
"To have these Northern College students educate them instead of listening to us is awesome," she said. "We're providing the same message but to have someone from the community come in and share their knowledge is very valuable."
Northern College paramedic instructor for professional issues, research and leadership Derrick Cremin said this particular project for his students is worth 35 per cent of their final grade. His class is expected to go into a high school, contact all the appropriate individuals, conduct research and show leadership in the community.
"This is where all the problems with drugs and alcohol will happen in Grade 9 and then it starts a profession. Maybe through these presentations we can show them other options," he said.
The message did get through to students, even if they'd heard it from teachers and other adults their whole life.
"It was a very informative presentation. It's good to have the perspective of people who see the negative effects of drug abuse first-hand," said Grade 12 student Maxxwell Harkins.
Fellow attendee Nicholas Sheculski, a Grade 9 student, said the information he received came in loud and clear.
"The drug presentation by the paramedics taught me a lot. It was a great way to refresh my knowledge from the DARE program back in elementary school. It reminded me of the danger of drugs," he said.