ST. CHARLES COUNTY (KMOV.com) – Heroin use is a growing epidemic in the U.S. and use among middle and high school aged students is on the rise. St. Charles County prosecutors are taking a proactive measure to expose middle school students to the deadly consequences heroin can have, even after just one use.
The preventative measure is a collaboration effort among the St. Charles County Drug Task Force, the drug court, the Prosecuting Attorney and other law enforcement agencies. While the D.A.R.E. program educates elementary school students about drug abuse before heading off to middle school, there is no program aimed at middle school students who are heading to high school.
The St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney, Tim Lohmar said the middle school students will hear from people who have childhoods very similar to their own.
“They‘re going to hear stories of how the heroin drug can infiltrate what appears to be a normal family and completely devastate the family,” said Lohmar.
Parents of participating students gave permission to their child to take part in the program. Over 300 students from 18 different schools will participate. They will hear real-life stories from recovering addicts and from victims who have lost family members.
“90 percent of the burglaries that we charge have something to do with [drug addiction], most often heroin,” cited Lohmar. He added that heroin is the least expensive of these drugs and the easiest to acquire. “For that reason … a lot of folks find themselves in an addictive situation with heroin.”
In St. Charles County, deaths from heroin overdose has increased more than 400 percent in the last ten years.