Schools encourage candid conversations about drugs

5 News WDTV By Mike Valente

HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) – Monday marks the start of National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week.

As police continue to conduct raids connected to the influx of heroin laced with Fentanyl, teachers say they notice students are paying more attention.

“Kids talk about it, they know it’s here,” said Melissa Kaiser, a health instructor at Bridgeport High School. “They might not understand completely why it’s here and why it’s such a problem, especially with Harrison County, I-79 being a main thoroughfare through the county…they don’t understand that concept.”

Kaiser shapes her lesson plans around current events in the community. A couple years ago, the focus was bath salts. Now, the attention has shifted to new brands of drugs, like those labeled “Jungle Killer.”

“I go extensively into the beginning of the drug unit about how the brain works,” said Kaiser. “I think it’s important for them to understand not just ‘don’t do it.’ I think they need to be educated on why they shouldn’t, and once you start, that it does become something that’s out of your control, because your brain is hijacked.”

High School students, meanwhile, are taking their own measures to avoid the dangers, opting into random drug tests.

“Last year we had 90 members–it took us a year to get 90 members,” said Anita Hornor, a teacher at Bridgeport High School and leader of the school’s chapter of Drug Free Clubs of America. “This year, we really feel we’re going to double that number, because students are coming to me saying ‘I want to stand and I want to be drug-free.”


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