By Kelly Kucsan and Cierra Kettenburg

On April 18th and 22nd, the Salisbury students had a Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) assembly. HOPE is a program that was developed because of the growing concern around the heroin and opioid epidemic in the Lehigh Valley, as well as throughout the state of Pennsylvania. It was created a year and a half ago by the Center for Humanistic Change and is still going strong today. The Center for Humanistic Change attracts community members to help build skills to address the challenges that people face in life.

Student assemblies were held April 18th and April 22nd.  There were four separate presentations, one for each grade level. Freshman and sophomores had their presentation on April 18th and juniors and seniors had theirs on April 22. During the assembly, they talked about a few people who were affected by the addiction of heroin. Stories from mothers who had children pass away from this terrible addiction were shared. Their main point was to make sure students knew just how dangerous heroin and opium could be. Most heroin addictions start from opium pills, and 80% of addictions start with pain killers. Children are becoming addicted at the age of 11 because they are taking their parents pills. People need to be more aware of how harmful opium and heroin can be, which is why HOPE is trying to spread the word. The freshman and sophomores actually got experience having the mothers of teenage addicts talk to them. Sophomore, Kelly Gardus said, “having the mothers there made it feel more real and I realized it can happen to anyone, they also made it feel like I was in their shoes and I could feel what they were going through.”

Additionally, there will also be a parent/community presentation on May 4 from 6:30-8:00pm in the SHS auditorium. The STSD SAP program will be sponsoring the evening program and will have a table set up in the lobby with the SAP information as well.

Officer Richard Nothstein thought that the HOPE presentation served a great purpose for the staff, students, and everyone in the community here at Salisbury. “After seeing the presentation, for the staff, and hearing about other districts presenting it to their students, I thought it would be a good idea to show to the students here at Salisbury. I hope the presentation will educate the students, and make them aware of the dangers of heroin.” Information about the HOPE program can be found at the following website: http://www.thechc.org/services/hope.html.

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