The Rise of Opioids: How To Prevent

Ryan Lewis, Assistant Editor

It lurks in our alleyways, crawls through the shadows, and lingers in our parking lots and gas stations. What is this frightening monstrosity? The monster is opioids. Opioid Addiction continues to spread and affect the lives of locals.
In Snohomish County, young adults and students are seeing the effects of opioids. Although the county only accounts for “about eleven percent of Washington’s population,” it is responsible for “fourteen percent of all opioid-related deaths and nearly sixteen percent of all heroin-related deaths in [the] state” according to Sheriff Ty Trenary of the Snohomish County Police Department. This means that students witness the impacts of this epidemic in their community, friends, and even their families.
Mariner High School Resource Officer George Burnette has witnessed the spread of this problem firsthand. In the last five years, he says, “the problem seems to be getting worse, whether [it is] heroin users or other opioids we see on the street[s].”
With such a widespread issue, many wonder what is being done to prevent student usage. What are some of the steps that should be taken to discourage opioid use in students? What is the administration doing?
Firstly, the staff is encouraged to keep an eye out for any signs that a student may be using substances. If a student comes to school under the influence or admits to having used it in the past, the situation is taken seriously.
Burnette said that the protocol is to prevent further usage of opioid-related substances for said student. They would do so by asking the student about their situation and going from there.
Burnette said, “If they are telling me that they just used, [he] would probably start [with having them go to] the [school] nurse and check to see if they are okay.”
Then, if it were determined that they needed more intensive help, they would be sent immediately for medical attention. In both cases, the student would be required to seek rehabilitation.
Prevention methods aren’t limited to cases of known usage, however. Classes like health and psychology inform students of the risks to drug usage. This will hopefully give students the information they need to make good decisions for their lives. Hopefully, students can use this as a tool to positively impact the more significant drug problem in the community and the lives of family and friends.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from substance abuse, you can call the Alcohol/Drug Helpline for support at 1-800-562-1240.