The opioid and heroin crisis has intensified so much that kindergartners are now being warned of the potential dangers of opioids.
Kids as young as five-years-old attending school are being taught about opioids, the general category of pain medicine that includes more well-known drugs like codeine, morphine and oxycodone.
States like Ohio and New York passed laws mandating schools to incorporate opioid abuse prevention into the larger health-related curriculum, according to The Associated Press. (RELATED: DEA Calls For Huge Cut In Opioid Production Due To Ongoing Crisis)
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie plans on implementing a similar law for his state.
“The message will be simple and direct and start in kindergarten,” Christie said, according to the AP. “The medicine in Mom and Dad’s medicine cabinet is not safe for you to use just because a doctor gave it to them.”
Schools around the country are starting to bring in people who are recovering from opioid dependency and addiction, in order to help start a dialogue amongst students and their parents. (RELATED: Four Young Children Left In Home For Days After Parents Died From Apparent Drug Overdose)
Seventeen-year-old Savannah Wilson of State College Area High School in Pennsylvania says the education she received at a young age helped, but did not mention how young.
“I’m not sure if I would have had any issues, but it was definitely good to know, don’t take more than you absolutely need to. They’re really strong drugs,” Wilson told the AP. “They prescribed me way more than I needed. I had a lot left over. It’s kind of scary how easy they make it for you.”
Opioid abuse appears to be a slippery slope. Nearly half of young people who inject heroin into their bodies said they abused prescription opioids before using heroin, according to three separate studies cited by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Heroin overdoses and deaths transpiring from them have been increasing at a rapid rate in recent years. (RELATED: Two Men Overdose On Heroin At McDonald’s, All Caught On Facebook Live)
Heroin-related deaths in Maryland, which has the fifth highest rate of deaths from drug overdoses in America, tripled in just four years from 247 in 2011 to 748 in 2015. Roughly every two days, a heroin-related death occurs in Ocean County, New Jersey.
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