Students learn powerful lesson on opioid epidemic

"Just Once" The Opioid Epidemic presented to students

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Students at Central High School in Springfield learned a powerful lesson about the growing opioid epidemic Wednesday morning.

Students gathered to watch a presentation called “Just Once” The Opioid Epidemic. The video features local people who have been affected by opioid addiction.

One of the presenters asked the students how many of them knew someone who had trouble with drugs. At least a dozen students in the audience raised their hands.

One student told 22News that she was shocked to see how many of her fellow classmates knew someone struggling with addiction. “A lot of people think that it doesn’t happen or it can’t happen so it’s surprising to see who it really affects,” freshman Tia Austin told 22News.

Other students weren’t so surprised. “It wasn’t shocking. I know somebody so it wasn’t surprising. I feel like it’s specially in the surrounding communities, more suburban areas, it’s a lot more common, ” senior Madison Gruneiro told 22News.

Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni told 22News, “I think that was a sign that this is a really wide spread problem. It has no socioeconomic or population bounds. It’s across all segments of our community and these kids are no exception.”

Gulluni said Wednesday’s presentation is available to any interested schools or groups looking education people on the dangers of opioids.