WV Fights Back: Discussing epidemic in schools

HARRISON COUNTY, W.Va (WDTV) - NOTE: Video for this story was recorded earlier in the week.

In this week's edition of West Virginia Fights Back, we take things to the classrooms and hallways.

A variety of ages and demographics contribute to our state's addiction crisis, but schools in our area are doing what they can to make sure our children don't go down the wrong road.

"We've done different activities where district attorneys have come in and talked to our kids about multiple things with opioids," said Robert C. Byrd High School's Assistant Principal Scott Davis. "Just knowledge of what the crisis is."

There are several different community organizations and groups that work with the Harrison County schools to talk to the students about the issue.

"We read an article each week in my classroom and one of them this year has already been about opioid addiction," said Emily Moore. "We discuss those articles in class. The kids respond to them, we reflect on them, and then if they have questions, I get them to the right authorities to talk to them."

RCB teacher Emily Moore told us students are aware of the addiction issue throughout the community.

"You ask students in a classroom to raise your hands, how many of you have been affected by opioid addiction in your families, yourself, or with your friends, and almost every hand in the room goes up," Moore said.

The discussion in the classroom is geared toward overall education -- hoping students make the right, informed decisions.

"They say well, I want to try anything once and I say this is just one thing you can't," Moore said.

"Our health teacher does a lot of preventive measure," Davis said. "She has a lot of speakers come in and really give them a true introduction into what that life could be like if they choose to go down that road."

As the saying goes, 'it takes a village to raise a child.' Harrison County Superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin says the schools are committed to making this a part of their lessons, but it's a collaborative effort from several in the community.

"We're aware," said Superintendent Dr. Mark Manchin. "All of us together can address this. Certainly the school system will take a lead, but we can only be successful with the help of our parents and our communities."