Detective Chris Coyne from the Troy police department, chief investigator Kelly Rodgers from the Madison county coroner's office, and Dr. Kari Karidis, an assistant principal at Collinsville High School, visit schools in the metro east warning kids about heroin and prescription drugs. They shared their own personal experiences with BHS students last Thursday, January 28th. The group's goal is to make young kids aware of the deadly drug and opioid addiction. The numbers in Madison County should definitely make kids afraid. Last year alone, there were 43 heroin overdose deaths. They shared a powerful message to students, “It is not a matter of if heroin will kill you, it is a matter of when it will kill you.” Heroin has become a full blown epidemic, not just in Madison County but across our nation.
Chris Coyne has been a police officer for twenty two years and has also been a D.A.R.E officer for nineteen years. Coyne and Rodgers are both a part of the major case squad in Madison County. The two talked to students about how hard it is to break the news to a family when a loved one has overdosed. “Do not become a body bag. Do not become a statistic. Parents aren't supposed to bury their kids” Officer Coyne told students. Kelly Rodgers shared a powerful message with students that you have no friends in the drug community. Kelly told students about Chad and others who have overdosed. Chad's story resonated with the students. In 2010, Chad died of a heroin overdose. Instead of taking him to the hospital, his friends took him to a nearby cemetery and left him. Authorities later found Chad dead.
“This is very real and so many kids, because of their level of brain development, don’t believe it’s ever going to happen to them — they are invincible, they can handle everything on their own. That’s how they think because they don’t understand the long term damage. If it can happen to my kid, it can happen to anybody’s kid.” Dr. Karidis told her story in hopes that it would register with an audience that is just a few years younger than her son was when he overdosed. Kari's story was personal and hit home for many students. Kari's son, Chaz, passed away November 4th, 2013 when he was just twenty three. She encouraged students to stay away from heroin and prescription drugs so no parent has to go through the pain she felt when she buried her son. Chaz had goals, dreams, a future, and he wanted to be a role model for his younger brother. Many students think it will never happen to them but it can. This important message resonated with the entire student body. We would like to thank, Kari, Chris, and Kelly for visiting our school and sharing their personal experiences on this serious topic.
by Courtney Zasada
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