Melvin and Brandee Kramer brought their family to Warrenton High School on Saturday afternoon to become better educated about the opioid challenges their community is facing.
Moving around the stations, the Kramers and their six children learned about the risks and how to identify signs of use or danger. It was part of an awareness program funded by a grant and hosted by the Warren County Health Department.
“Some money was available for opioid education, and the focus was on counties that have had a higher number of overdoses,” said Event Coordinator Stacey White. “They offered us a small grant for awareness and prevention activities.”
The event was to focus on education for children, adults and families concerning what to watch for and what resources are available if they have a loved one who might use.
“The purpose of why we came is that we home school, so we wanted to educate the kids on what to look for if they were at a friend’s house or what to do if they saw something like that out in the community,” said Brandee Kramer.
The Warrenton Police Department provided a mock bedroom scenario with hidden paraphernalia as well as question and answer sessions. Lt. Branden Webber explained a multitude of the devices employed during the use of opioids.
“We want to increase awareness about the dangers of opioids, because studies have shown that awareness leads to a decrease in overdoses,” said Webber. “The illegal use of heroin has always been around. I think the epidemic we’re now seeing is the abuse of prescription narcotics, and that’s what leads more people now into heroin addiction.”
The Kramer family left with a wealth of knowledge and a resounding message.
“If we see something we’re not supposed to, tell a grownup,” echoed their youngest children. “And do not do drugs.”
Several vendors, including resources to help with addiction and recovery, were also on hand. White says the county would like to continue these types of events but faces the challenge of enticing people to attend.