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Drug Free Coalition honors retiring juvenile court judge
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Attendees at the Drug Free Coalition’s annual dinner meeting and ceremony Tuesday night in Gainesville watch a video created by Gainesville High School students. The sketch discusses peer pressure to use drugs.

Entering the final month of his 24-year juvenile court career, Juvenile Court Judge Cliff Jolliff received the second annual Mary Parks Youth Champion Award on Tuesday night at a ceremony in Gainesville.

Jolliff said he was honored to receive the award bearing the name of Mary Parks, an inspiration in her spearheading of the Drug Free Coalition’s inception.

“This means so very, very much to me,” he said.

The dinner, hosted by the Drug Free Coalition at The Oaks at Lanier Charter Career Academy, began with a video presented by Gainesville High School students. The group Students Putting Extra Emphasis on Decisions created a sketch about adolescent drug use called “Because Not Everyone is Doing It.”

Following the presentation, Ann Price, who is under contract as an evaluation coordinator for the coalition, discussed the findings of recent self-reported drug use data.

The findings from the Georgia Student Health Survey demonstrated a decrease for middle school drug use across all substances between 2009 and 2013, Price said.

“Middle schoolers are still malleable ... we have a chance to intervene,” she said.

For high schoolers, however, self-reported marijuana use has increased from 9.1 percent to 13.1 percent, Price said.

Center Point Executive Director David Smith accepted the award for 2014 Partner Organization of the Year. Smith expressed his appreciation for the younger generation making strides to limit drug use.