NLRHS educating students on opioid and heroin abuse concerns

Starting Monday, all North Little Rock High School students will hear from the head of the state's pharmaceutical board, a recovering heroin addict and a probation officer hoping this kind of education can save lives

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Heroin use more than doubled in the last 10 years among young adults starting at age 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC.

North Little Rock High School wants to address this issue among its students, so all next week high schoolers will be learning specifically about opioid and heroin abuse.

They will hear from the head of the state's pharmaceutical board, a recovering heroin addict and a probation officer.

People most at risk of heroin addiction are teenagers and young adults, males and those living in a large city. These are all demographics fitting to several NLR high schoolers.  

When THV11 asked NLRHS senior Maddison Thomas if she thought heroin and opioid abuse was a problem for people her age she answered bluntly, “Yes, actually I think that any kind of warning is necessary.”

Thomas learned about opioids and heroin in her medical-science class, but craves an even deeper education.

“I do know other teenagers my age who do struggle with drug abuse,” said Thomas.

According to the CDC, many heroin addicts start with an addiction to opioid based prescription drugs, like hydrocodone and oxycodone.

“We have a lot of students that use those drugs for sports injuries and any other kind of injury that they have, and it's kind of scary to know that a person can easily get addicted to that,” said Thomas.

NLR district counselor, Jan Kucala, says heroin and opioid abuse isn't a problem at NLRHS at this time.

“They're more into starting with things like drinking, marijuana use, things that are more socially accepted,” said Kucala.

However, the district knows addiction to any substance can lead to something worse.

“It's important for kids to be prepared for the things that they're going to face, and know how they are going to handle a situation,” said Kucala.

The district is teaming up with the state to dedicate a whole week to opioid and heroin abuse awareness.

“I feel like we've talked about these kind of things since like kindergarten, but people still eventually get on them,” said Thomas.

NLR police say there is a spike is heroin overdoses in the city over the past year.

“Problems in the community are going to touch our students,” said Kucala.

The school hopes students recognize they are not immune to addiction, so they'll listen and learn.

“I'm pretty determined to not be on that path,” said Thomas.

The North Little Rock Police Department is determined to save lives from heroin overdoses as well.

They applied for a grant to arm their officers with an opioid overdose reversing drug called Naloxone or Narcan. They hope to have this drug in their substations soon, and to begin training officers on how to use it. 


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