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Roanoke County Schools kick off a series of opioid awareness meetings

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ROANOKE COUNTY (WSLS10)-- It's been less than three months since Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a public health emergency over the Virginia opioid addiction crisis. Now, school leaders in Roanoke County are addressing the growing problem with a series of community meetings.

While the meetings are taking place at Roanoke County high schools, they're open to all community members.

Each discussion will be built the same way-- with a variety of speakers, including police officers, parents who will share their own experiences and former addicts. It's all in an effort to address those issues early, before students reach the highest risk for addiction.

"The age of risk is typically outside of high school," says Taisha Steele, the coordinator for Roanoke County's School Counseling Services. "It's starting around age 18 and into young adults. So this is our mission, to be proactive and prevent things from trickling down to a younger age."

Steele says addiction can start with something simple, like a painkiller prescription for an athletic injury or wisdom teeth service. In as little as thirty days, she says they could become addicted to that medication which could eventually lead to the use of heroin as well.

The meetings, which kick off at 7 p.m., will be held at each Roanoke County high school. Here's a schedule:

  • Monday, Feb. 20 – Hidden Valley High School
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21 – Cave Spring High School
  • Monday, Feb. 27 – Northside High School
  • Tuesday, Feb. 28 – Glenvar High School
  • Thursday, Mar. 2 – William Byrd High School

For more information, click here.