Don't do drugs. That is the message motivational speaker Tiffany Eis shared with more than 700 eighth through 12th graders from Brownwood, Bangs and Early ISD at the second annual Brown County Drug Training event. The free event at the Brownwood Coliseum was also open to the public.
"I want them to learn from my mistakes instead of their own," Eis said. "It's really important to get the message out there of how damaging and how controlling the drugs are over people."
Eis' addiction with drugs began when she was 15 years old and smoked marijuana for the first time. She said from there, she abused many drugs, including meth, cocaine and even prescription drugs. It wasn't until she was 30 years old and on her deathbed in a hospital that she realized she needed help. As a result of the drugs, Eis suffered strokes, had to have her legs amputated and had to replace her heart valve. That was only some of the physical consequences.
Eis showed photos of her hands and feet from when she was in the hospital. She took off her prosthetic legs to drive her point home to the audience.
In terms of emotions, Eis said there was a lot of heartbreak as she had hurt her family and loved ones.
Eis said her biggest advice to anyone to prevent drugs from becoming an issue is to be proactive.
"As parents, you need to talk about drugs. Don't make it a taboo subject. It needs to be out there. Parents need to learn and research drugs and then teach their kids," Eis said.
Brownwood Chief of Police Mike Corley said he was confident Friday morning's event helped made a difference.
"I believe in my heart of hearts that we are going to change lives today. It's just a matter of how many," Chief Corley said prior to Eis' presentation. "It's not going to be the answer to everything but if one kid walks away making different choices, then it's well worth it."
The Central Counties Training Coalition organized the event.
You can hear more of Eis' personal story at www.tiffanyeis.com.