Ocean City Today

Worcester schools look to teach kids opioid avoidance 

Board of Education forms Heroin Prevention Action Team to expose problem
By Kara Hallissey | Apr 20, 2017

(April 21, 2017) The fight against the rising tide of opiate addiction came to the Worcester County Board of Education work session Tuesday morning, as members of its Heroin Prevention Action Team began developing a plan to address the problem, while the board heard from a parent and Cpl. James Schwartz of the Ocean City Police Department during the public portion of the session.

Both Schwartz and the parent told the board they thought the documentary, “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict,” would be a valuable tool.

“It highlights addiction and can open student’s eyes,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz, who has been a police officer for 20 years, said a multifaceted approach is needed to counter the drug’s spread, and that would include trained police officers and distributing information to students at school.

 “It is a devastating problem we all face collectively and we are addressing this problem as we speak,” Board President William Gordy said.

Superintendent Lou Taylor explained the newly formed Worcester County Public Schools Heroin Prevention Action Team, which consists of four members from the operations, instruction and student services departments.

Collectively, the four team members represent Worcester County Public Schools on several community task forces including the Worcester County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council, the Worcester County Opioid Task Force and the Worcester Warriors.

“No one is more committed,” Taylor said. “Several staff members are leading a committee to study this issue and are putting together a program to get the information out to the kids.”

On Tuesday, Snow Hill High School students will watch “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict” and offer their comments.

The school system also plans to work with Atlantic General Hospital and the Worcester County Health Department to integrate heroin education into heath, science and social studies curriculums in the middle schools.

In addition, it will work with the Worcester County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council to have guest speakers and teach school personnel how to administer naloxone in the event of an overdose. Currently, all school nurses and deputies have that training.

“We are working on additional actions that we can take to educate our students on the dangers of opioid use and abuse, and heroin use,” team member Tamara Mills said. “The … goal is to remain informed, from accurate, reliable sources, and to use that information to plan effective strategies for educating our children, parents and community members.”

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