Law enforcement turning to high school students to curb opioid, heroin epidemic

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Indiana's US Attorney Josh Minkler spent Friday morning at an Indianapolis high school training student leaders to help him fight the heroin and opioid epidemic in Indiana.

This event comes just one week after the Department of Justice urged prosecutors to work with health officials to offer more prevention and treatment services.

“The opioid problem is getting greater and greater every year," Minkler said. "(These students) are going to be leaders in their community. They are going to be able to go out in their communities with that information. They are going to be able to talk to their peers, their friends, their parents about these problems and I believe that will reduce the demand.”

Minkler met with student leaders from Metropolitan High School Friday. Students heard from Minkler, members of law enforcement and watched a documentary called, "Chasing the Dragon." The FBI and DEA made the video earlier this year to discourage youth from becoming victims of addiction.

“We can do more to reduce the demand for drugs in this country and that is through the power of information we are giving these kids here today," Minkler said.

Students also heard from two parents who lost their child to drug abuse seven years ago.

“It’s hard to be a teenager right now. It’s hard to be the parent of a teenager now. (Opiates are) everywhere and it’s an epidemic that we can’t seem to get ahead of," said Kristy Nelson, who lost her son to an overdose.

Her husband, Marion County Superior Court Judge William Nelson, spoke to the students after the film and hopes them hearing his message will hit home.

“We are not going to arrest our way out of this problem and jailing and incarcerating these people is not doing any good," Judge Nelson said. "So we have to attack it from the front end... education, prevention and treatment."

Minkler is hoping to get this program into more Indiana high schools. If you'd like to bring this to your area, contact Minkler's office. 


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