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OXNARD : Race Car Driver Warns Against Using Drugs

Race car driver Dave Rosenblum spoke Thursday to about 400 Oxnard youths about drug abuse, chronicling his own battle and warning of the perils of addiction.

“This is not something I’m real proud to admit, but I’m a recovering drug addict,” Rosenblum told fourth- through sixth-graders at Oxnard’s Driffill elementary school. “I am 46 years old, and I spent the best years of my life--from the age of 17 to 34--screwing up my life. I wasted the best years of my life.”

The Pennsylvania-based driver also spoke Thursday at Lemonwood School and at the Boys & Girls Club 7th Street facility, both in Oxnard.

At first anxious to see his race car, which was displayed at Driffill, the students sat intently listening to Rosenblum’s story and message.

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“I thought it was scary when he said he was only married for six months and he had to be in the hospital and that it messed up his life,” said Elizabeth Driscoll, 10, a Driffill fifth-grader.

David Stanley, 11, said he would tell people not to use drugs. “When he told us that he had to go to the hospital, it made me really think that I don’t want to go to the hospital,” the Driffill sixth-grader said. “I know drugs can mess up your life and you shouldn’t use drugs. I don’t want my friends to be dead or anything.”

Gilbert Valdez, 11, said he admires Rosenblum, who competes in Sports Car Club of America races. “He’s one of my favorite race car drivers, and I liked that he was telling kids not to mess up their lives like he did,” said the Driffill sixth-grader.

Sponsored by Saturn of Oxnard, Boys & Girls Club officials arranged for the talk at three of their sites as part of their anti-drug campaign.

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“I think this was a good way to start the year off,” said Driffill Principal Berta Perez, whose school year started this week. “The kids listened to what he had to say. By the questions they asked, I could tell they were really listening.”

Rosenblum told the students: “I picked the wrong people to be friends with. I came from a nice family. I always wanted to please people, and my friends smoked pot. The day I started using marijuana was the first day I became a drug addict.

“I became addicted to drugs, and I never accomplished anything, I never was really successful, I couldn’t keep a girlfriend, I was married for only six months,” he said. “What decent girl would want a guy who does drugs all the time? I never won a single race, and I crashed a lot.”

Now in his 12th year of sobriety, Rosenblum is married, has a daughter and has won 22 car races. “My whole life went from a loser to a winner,” he said.

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“I’m happy he got into rehab and came out drug-free,” said Eva Deal, 11, a Driffill sixth-grader.


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