NOPE: drug abuse prevention program in schools this month

SyringeWEST CHESTER — Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced Wednesday that law enforcement and volunteers are collaborating to run a school-based drug abuse prevention education program called NOPE (“Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education”).

NOPE is a non-profit program that delivers personal, high impact presentations to middle and high school students and their parents throughout the school year to prevent drug abuse. NOPE presentations already have started in the West Chester Area School District.

“Children are dying from drug overdoses here in Chester County, not just in cities like Philadelphia,” Hogan said in a statement. “The main overdose threats are heroin and prescription drugs. NOPE gives us a tool to help educate students and parents. The goal of NOPE is simple – to save lives.”

In NOPE presentations, the dangers of drug abuse are presented graphically and emotionally from several perspectives. First, a health care professional describes the interaction of drugs on the developing brain. Second, a police officer describes the grim task of witnessing overdoses and making death notifications to distraught families. Third and finally, family members who have suffered the loss of a child to a drug overdose describe the death of their children. A separate program for parents and the community takes place after the programs for school students in each school district.

“Fighting drug and alcohol use and addiction among teens requires a community effort,” West Chester Area Superintendant Dr. Jim Scanlon said. “Part of that effort is educating our parents and students about the dangers of drugs. NOPE is a concerted effort to help parents understand warning signs and dangers of drug use.”

NOPE’s next event for parents and community members in the West Chester School District is Thursday, Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at West Chester East High School. In addition to West Chester Area School District, presentations are currently planned for Great Valley School District, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, and Twin Valley School District. NOPE is communicating with the following school districts to schedule presentations: Tredyffrin/Easttown, Avon Grove, Owen J. Roberts, Coatesville, and the Chester County Intermediate Unit Technical College High School.

“One in five teens has abused prescription drugs,” Hogan said. “The average age of first illegal drug use is 13 years old, a number that shocks many people. This is a plague that we must fight with a coordinated effort among parents, educators, an

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