Former Catholic High student's overdose death hits home

Another overdose death in the state shows just how dangerous opioids are.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV)- THV11 is dedicated to covering the opioid epidemic and searching for solutions and hoping for change. One thing we've learned for sure, drugs don't discriminate.           

Steve Straessle, the principal at Catholic High School for Boys, has written three eulogies for young people who've died of drug overdoses.

Just last week a Central High student reportedly overdosed in a bathroom at school.

“One went to a big school here in town, one went to a very small private school here in town, and one went to a Catholic school,” he said.

The most recent funeral was for a young man with a bright future.

“The boy was a beautiful young man and just one or two wrong turns and we lost, the rest of us lost,” he said. 

He said the opioid epidemic isn't a school problem, it's a community problem.

“I think the fact that the Little Rock police department carries Narcan speaks volumes. I never used to lose sleep as a counselor until recent years because I didn't have clients die on me suddenly like they do now,” he said. 

Alcohol and drug abuse counselor, J.G. Regnier, said just last week one of his clients opened his eyes even more to this problem.

“He was at a party and everybody was doing it and he was peer pressured into doing heroin and next thing he knew he was doing it every day for a week. It's happening in homes, it's happening in the heights, it's happening in Chenal, it's happening everywhere,” he said. 

There are a few warning signs Regnier said you can look for.

“A drop in grades seems to be fairly common, they change their friends, and money will start disappearing,” he said. 

Principal Straessle said he believes there are two things the community needs to focus on.

“These kids that are impulsive and what not, we have to recognize that and approach them with accountability but also with compassion,” he said. 

Regnier also said drug testing is always the most accurate way to go if you think your kid is in trouble. He said no parent can be too overprotective with an epidemic that's growing this fast.

© 2018 KTHV-TV


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