Article Appeared on northjersey.com
A witness described a friend who was crazy about soccer but didn’t always show up to play. He once picked up and threw the ball when players are only allowed to use with their feet. He was kicked off the field but didn’t seem to care.
The friend was hyper, argued with his teammates, and vomited. Four of Mr. Kevin Smyth’s sixth-graders at Nutley’s Washington Elementary School – by role playing – determined their friend had a heroin problem.
“Heroin is a dangerous drug from the seed pod of an opium plant,” Nutley police officer Steven Rogers II told the 40 students. “Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s healthy.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie watched the exercise Tuesday and spoke on behalf of Law Enforcement Against Drugs, a statewide program that teaches the dangers of drug and substance abuse. As a major focus of his final year in office, Christie has vowed to give agencies tools to fight the heroin and opiate epidemic.
The governor said he supports proposed legislation to expand the grade levels in which prevention programs are offered in schools.
“We have a problem all across the state of people dying because they are using drugs,” Christie told the students. “If your entire sixth-grade in Nutley made a promise and reached out to help someone, you all could stop this problem in Nutley.”
“The most important people in this room are you. You are the ones that are going to solve it,” he said to the children.