Heroin in High Schools: Communities Fight to Keep Teens Clean

CBS 58—Heroin claims more and more lives every day, and now communities are working hard to keep teens from falling victim to the epidemic.

Laura and Lee Pulsifer lost their son to a heroin overdose in June of 2013.

“There's nothing to compare that to because it's pain beyond imagination,” Laura said.

Laura vividly remembers the morning she found her son Luke, just 19-years-old, one year out of high school.

“We knew it was heroin that morning,” Lee said.

They knew because they spent months trying to help Luke. He had been clean for three months leading up to his death.

“I didn't know it was so evil,” Lee said. “I didn't know it could just, take him out.”

The reality is the drug claims more and more lives every year. Between 2008 and 2014 annual heroin deaths in the state quadrupled. And often the addiction starts young, with the abuse of prescription pills

The makers of Narcan, Adapt Pharma, recently announced they will offer the nasal version of the opioid antidote to high schools for free.

In a press release the company said, “For schools especially, providing access to these medications can have an impact on the entire community and potentially prevent harmful or fatal situations."

“I hate the fact that I even have to consider Narcan in the schools, in the high schools or middle schools,” Laura said. “I hate that idea, but if it's gonna save a life, absolutely.”

Teens themselves are working to keep classmates from becoming addicted. Tatum Radtke and other Arrowhead High School students are holding a pill drop off; a way to get unused drugs out of homes.

“I think it goes around a lot for teenagers and they abuse drugs and steal them or they take them from family,” Tatum said.

Annette LeMieux started this class project six years ago, collecting 178 pounds of pills.  Last year they gathered 440 pounds.

“I think every year we hear about more and more deaths from these things,” Annette said.

And as the Pulsifers know, this addiction can take hold of anyone, anywhere.

“I didn't think it would ever, this would ever occur to my kid, to my family,” Laura said. “But I don't think anybody is immune.”

The Arrowhead pill drop off is Friday, May 13, from 6:30 am until 6:30 pm at Arrowhead Union High School's Mullett Ice Center.

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