Bringing Out the Best in You through Photography

PhotoVoice is a qualitative research method that puts cameras in the hands of its participants. Each week, participants are given a question that they are expected to answer through their photography. Upon their return each week, students are asked to reflect upon their photography and their thoughts related to the questions, in a focus group setting. Quotes are then derived from these reflection groups to go along with the photography. This not only gives young people an opportunity for non-traditional drug education, but also a chance to share their voice in issues where they are not often heard. 

This project was conducted with 4 Rockland High School students from January to February of 2016.


To what extent are drugs an issue in the community?

Drugs become an issue or a problem in the community when someone looks around and sees they have no one. To walk alone, feel alone and be alone are side effects to drugs. It’s all fun and games until you look down and see only one pair of footsteps.

Addiction is a disease of the soul; a tree without its leaves.

Sometimes people who use drugs overdose and that can be a medical emergency. If there are too many people who need treatment in a hospital for their drug use, then there won’t be enough time or resources for everyone else.

There is a lot of depression in winter, the days have less light and there’s less nature around us. A lot of times we take drugs to escape from our current lives. It’s a lack of better coping methods to any type of negative emotion we might have.

The footprints represent the fact that there have been many others on your same path and they might have walked even further on the path and found a way to rehabilitate themselves.

Should you take the path everyone else thinks you should or should you take your own? So really you just have to trust yourself.

Everyone’s inside here. Everything seems perfectly fine. Even though the entire street seems calm and quaint you wouldn’t imagine drug activity to be going on there but we don’t know what’s going on behind all the doors of the houses.

I think any form of education is effective but what they have to worry about is trying to make the person self-aware of the problem.

A fire is going, but when it burns out you can just have a match make it work again. Once a person becomes an addict they are always going to be an addict; you can’t just try it once and not be addicted to it. You’re not the only one, there’s a light in the end of the tunnel.


To what extent are prescription drugs an issue in the community?

You don’t know if you are susceptible to addiction until you play that game.

That one person is crouching on the floor and there are a bunch of people surrounding them, but no one is watching. No one even seems like they see her.

The easy access to such a vast amount of medications, it’s off putting to me. Especially because I know Massachusetts is known for being a medical center. And it’s so surprising that in a place where we are so advanced in medicine that we can have so many problems with drugs. Or maybe that’s just a side effect of that.

You see the bright green grass and the bright blue sky. There is so much that people can be distracted by, that they don’t notice what’s going on right in front of them. Sometimes we just get caught up in our own life that you are not as aware of what someone else might be dealing with.

Even if its dark at night and there’s snow on the ground, there’s a warm house somewhere that I am sure would let you in. Even if you don’t have a family, I’m sure there are plenty of other centers that would be willing to open its doors to you. You’re not alone.

Being welcomed, being accepted and having someone to depend on. I think that as long as you recognize that you can stay together as a family unit, none of the negative stuff will impact us. Being able to talk in a safe place is all that someone needs sometimes.


What can be done?



Why do people use drugs? People are often times blinded by the things around them so it’s kind of blurry around the street. They see the little details, but not the clear road ahead of them.

You need to know when it’s time to go and time to stop. People follow other people’s examples because they are afraid to take their own path.

What can be done? We should be transparent about problems and talk about our problems. In my health class, my teacher read us this story called fill other peoples buckets. Filling someone up is like giving them compliments and when you knock down their bucket, you are putting people down. So fill other people’s buckets.

A lot of teenagers don’t have the ability to get the help that they need because they are afraid to talk to their parents. If you go to guidance, they are an impartial judge, but still someone that you can trust.