During school on Monday March 2, JBHS students gained knowledge about the topics of vaping, drug abuse and opioids. Pennsylvania State Trooper Megan Ammerman began the presentation by talking about the opioids crisis.
“Opioids are any painkillers: they are in that category,” said Ammerman.
Opioids are commonly prescribed to a patient for pain relief. According to Truth, that patient often becomes dependent on that drug, and then need more to feel the pain relief. Often patients think taking prescribed medicine from a doctor as a painkiller is the responsible thing to do, yet they become addicted from too much use and should be monitored carefully.
“Say someone gets into a car crash: that person can be prescribed the opioids and eventually get addicted and dependent on that drug,” said Ammerman.
Ammerman then discussed opioids as a gateway drug to heroin, which is the most addictive drug. According to AAC, heroin, when taken, connects to opioid receptors in the brain, leading to the addiction and becoming much more dominant to the abuser. Heroin is commonly used as an alternative to opioids since they are very expensive.
“Opioids can cost up to $10 for one pill,” said Ammerman. “If you’re taking five a day to keep that high, that’s $50 a day.”
Going down a even more dangerous path just to relieve pain and feel the “happy” feeling that their opioids gave them, heroin leads to a deeper addiction and problem.
When Ammerman wrapped up her presentation, she handed the attention to Christy Unger, the Director of Programming for the Healthy Communities Partnership of Franklin County. She discussed the dangers of e-cigarettes and vaping, something that has become prevalent in many teens.
“E-cigarettes are electronic cigarettes that are battery-powered devices that can deliver nicotine and flavorings to the user in the form of aerosol,” said Unger.
There are many companies such as JUUL participating in the production in these harmful products which can often cause even more damage than cigarettes to the user.
“The most detrimental part of vaping and e-cigarettes really focuses on the teen generations and targets them into thinking vaping is cool,” said Unger.
The impact JUUL and so many other e-cigarette companies on younger generations is huge. Young adults and kids become addicted to smoking these products that ends up harming them. The addiction begins because many pods contain the nicotine of 20 cigarettes, yet most teens think they only contain flavoring. This misconception is what leads to many teens becoming addicted at an early age.
Wrapping up the assembly, principal Mr. Samuel Dickey (Faculty) acknowledged how vaping and drugs are affecting students. It’s really important to understand how vaping is affecting students as it causes health problems from the start.
“I have sent five students to the hospital due to vaping-related issues this year,” said Dickey during the assembly. This shows that vaping has even impacted the small community of Mercersburg, PA.
Ammerman and Unger were pleased to help students acknowledge information about drugs and vaping through this assembly. Not only is this their job to give information about these topics, but they also enjoy sharing their stories with young minds to prevent them from making mistakes that will affect their health and futures.
Both will be present for a community informational event on March 3 held in the JBHS Auditorium at 6 PM. There will be time for questions after the presentation.
*Correction: An earlier versions of this article incorrectly identified Christy Unger, Director of Programming for the Healthy Communities Partnership as Kristy Hungar. We apologize for this inaccuracy.