St. Charles students receiving blunt education on dangers of her - KMOV.com

St. Charles students receiving blunt education on dangers of heroin

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ST. Charles, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- The message was pretty blunt Thursday for some pre-teens in St. Charles: there are too many of you dying from heroin.

The problem has gotten so bad police, prosecutors and healthcare organizations are having to educate sixth graders on the dangers.

The stories of addiction and death can be frightening when you're in middle school. Recovering addict Jamie Stewart says it's fine with her if she scares the heck out of some of the students.

“I hope so, I really hope so,” she said. “You know, near-death experiences, prison, parts of my life I can't get back; I really hope they can get away from that and learn."

This is the second teen drug summit this year. Select sixth, seventh and eighth graders from schools across St. Charles County are invited to attend, learn and take the message back to their schools.

We're going to give them basically a PG-13 message. That this is real and you need to be aware of this stuff,” said St. Charles County prosecutor Tim Lohmar.

“The Missouri student survey results showed that most students who use, start using in middle school so that's why this is the perfect target audience," added Francis Howell School District director of student services Jennifer Patterson.

Juan Wilson is with the DEA and on the front lines in the war on heroin. He says the cycle of abuse can start with parents and end up affecting children.

“They see their parents usage, they're directly  affected by it. Parents go to prison, they overdose,” he said. “One of the most disturbing images I had an eight year old direct me to his father's dead body.”

Lohmar says one of the biggest hurdles they've had to overcome is denial. For years there were those who said, yes, heroin is a problem, but it's not in our community. That has now changed.

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