EMSISD publishes PSA to highlight drug awareness during red ribbon week


Jesse Hernandez, Reporter

Because of the ongoing opioid epidemic, Chisholm Trail High School has released a PSA about a Drug Awareness night on Wednesday, Nov. 9, to spread awareness on the deadly and addictive nature of opioids.

“It’s super personal for me,” counselor Mona Woolley said. “I come from a family of users, and I had to make a decision in my life to break the cycle.”

Besides the awareness night, there is also the campaign, “One pill can kill” that has been educating students on the dangers of fentanyl lacing and fabrications of other prescription drugs across the nation.

“I think it’s great,” sophomore Anthony Hernandez said. “Letting students that aren’t as aware of drugs know there’s the greater danger – it’s a good thing.”

Woolley said it’s essential to help students to understand the threat of opioids and fabrication as there have been seizures of candy-colored pills according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

As campus nurse Shelley Ashton said, the pills are colored to obscure the identity as well as to target the younger audience in hopes of spurring an addiction for future business.

“If we feel any student is incapacitated [from excessive usage of drugs] they are brought to the nurse’s office,” Ashton said. “We then perform a formal screening which measures cognitive ability – such as the ability to recall events and physical mobility, and, also, neurological tests which are all indicators of impairments or overdose.”

Besides helping to identify signs of potential overdoses, Ashton has also put forward a request for schools to have access to a prescription medicine known as Narcan which is known for its treatment in overdoses.

“Across the board in Texas, I feel this is important,” Ashton said. “Something I’ve been working with the administration on is possibly – for our crash carts here in the school – to have the as-needed orders for the nasal Narcan. I just feel like because the epidemic is becoming so rampant, especially with the border issues and how much is crossing over on a daily rate. It’s very alarming.”

The spread of fentanyl and opioids, in general, is not only in pill form, according to Ashton.

“There’s new tactics where the pushers are grinding the candy-colored ones [pills] and mixing them in food, drinks – they’re even lacing them in pencils, pens and dollar bills.” Ashton said. “You can inadvertently pick up anything at any time that somebody has rolled in this fentanyl powder – and it does absorb through the skin as well; it’s not just ingestion. The risk of overdose is very very high.”

Drugs are commonly used for personal pleasure, but Woolley said such pleasure can lead to severe addiction harming not only its user but those around them.

“I have a brother that died in an overdose two years, another brother that died when I was 11 – he was 16 – in an alcohol-related accident, and now I’m raising my niece because my sister is also an addict,” Woolley said. “I even tell my children, you know, they’re teenagers so I want them to know about how bad drugs are.”