COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Dozens of buses lined up on behind COSI to bring around 2,000 students from all over Ohio for a rally and march to the statehouse, with a message to stay drug and alcohol free.
The student-led rally is called We Are The Majority, alluding to the statistics showing the vast majority of high school and middle school students do not use drugs or alcohol.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse states the number of teens using drugs has decreased over the last year. But teens at this rally said the message about teens today usually concentrates on those who abuse and not on those who are drug-free.
"They put that statistic on us that we are actually doing drugs and alcohol, when most of us here are doing a big movement, doing something good," said Darryalle Henderson, a Bishop Hartley student.
McKinley Mitten from Chillicothe High School said, "I think it is awesome that so many young people came out for this rally."
Harim Ellis with Prevention Action Alliance which organized the rally said, "surveys say the majority of young people aren't making bad decisions using drugs and alcohol, making those poor decisions, so we want to bring them together to celebrate."
An opportunity for young people to speak with their peers about the traps of drug and alcohol use.
"We are the majority and means we are the most amount of people that are making the right decisions and that inspires me," said Roshan Kumar, who attends high school in Dublin.
The Ohio National Guard is also a part of the support team along with the Prevention Action Alliance who are working with teens around the state.
"I've talked to kids from around the state who are here today who have resolved themselves to be part of the solution and part of the future of America," said Lt. Col. Michael Flaherty.
"This year's rally was the biggest ever, and the youths' message was clear, they are doing their part to prevent drug use and promote mental health wellness, and they need support from us adult s to continue doing that," said Ellis.