BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (WKRN) – Opioid abuse is a startling problem that D.A.R.E. officers who teach drug education in public schools are trying to change.
“It’s just become such a problem,” said Brentwood Police Officer Mark Wood.
From adults to kids, Wood says they get opioid-related overdose calls far too often.
“It’s almost a daily occurrence,” Wood said.
It’s a disturbing national crisis he and other DARE officers want to get ahead of.
“We just feel like it’s important that people realize the dangers of these drugs, when they should take them, when they shouldn’t take them,” Wood said.
Starting this school year, Wood and other D.A.R.E. officers will teach middle to high school students about opioid addiction.
“They learn how to read a label on medication,” Wood said.
It’s a topic D.A.R.E. officers have never had to touch until now.
“We just don’t want it trickling down to teens and young kids,” Wood said.
Wood says the new lesson will cover the basics of what opioids are.
“Why is it addictive?” Wood said. “Why is it harmful? How can it change how your brain works?”
The lesson will also question students about tough but real-life scenarios, according to Wood.
“You found your mother, and it looks like she’s taking a nap and she’s sleeping but you can’t wake her up,” Wood said, giving an example. “Do you think that’s an emergency? Do you think you should call 911?”
Wood says although most opioid-related overdoses involve adults, it’s just as easy for kids to get addicted.
“You have all these students playing sports,” Wood said. “They get injured. They may need to have a surgery or something. They may be given a pain medication.”
Cumberland Heights Drug Addiction Treatment Center says less than five percent of their 14 to 18-year-old male clients are addicted to opioids.
About 30 percent use a mix of prescription pills and other drugs.
“They can easily develop an addiction for it,” Wood said.
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