A Middletown middle school is taking the message about the dangers of the opioid crisis straight to its students.
As part of Red Ribbon Week, Alfred Waters Middle School held a forum on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 for the school's eighth graders featuring an addict, a New Castle County police officer and one of the school's teachers who has been personally impacted by addiction.
Teacher Dr. Courtney Clark's brother died from an overdose six years ago and she made an emotional plea to the students about the choices they make now and the ramifications later.
"He saw others using it. He saw minimal short-term consequences even though he knew the long term consequences," said Clark. "The fact I'm able to see these kids every single day and build some other relationships up with them and have them see 'This is my teacher...and she was hugely impacted. I hope the relationships I have built with them helps them hear my message even more."
New Castle County Police Senior Corporal Perry Sorrels was hoping to reach the eighth graders at a street level.
"I'm a human being first, then I'm a police officer. Most kids and teenagers they think they're adults so you have to almost talk to them like that in a way to try to get down to their level to try and build that bridge and fill the gap," he said. "Use terms that they connect with and you'll be able to get through that little barrier with them."
A 30-year old man named Dan, who struggles with substance abuse issues, brought a deeply personal message to the kids, detailing his own life of drug usage that led petty crime as he tried to get money to support his habit.
Sorrels also detailed how what might start as a weekend of partying could eventually lead to greater drug dependency that turns into stealing from family, friends, and others.