Dingell, Clemente Join Lincoln Park Middle School & Families Against Narcotics for Opioid Awareness Assemblies
Lincoln Park, MI, February 2, 2018
U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and State Representative Cara Clemente today joined Lincoln Park Middle School and the Downriver Chapter of Families Against Narcotics for assemblies on youth opioid education and prevention. The Representatives were joined by 600 7th and 8th grade students for the events, which brought together educators, substance abuse counselors, state and local leaders, and young people in recovery. The assemblies also encouraged young people to join a new student organization, Students Together Against Narcotics and Drugs (STAND).
“Today was about talking candidly to students so they understand that they are not too young to be hurt by this awful epidemic and the devastation it can cause,” said Dingell. “My sister became a drug addict at their age. Our goal today was to educate students about the realities of addiction so they can make informed decisions and to encourage them to join a club that supports each other. It’s important they know that when they are down, depressed or being bullied that there are places to turn besides drugs. We have got to all work together as a community address this awful epidemic, which has stolen the lives of too many young people across this country.”
“I appreciate Lincoln Park Middle School and Judge Gregory Clifton for allowing me to speak today on this important topic,” said Clemente. “One of the biggest challenges of the opioid epidemic is the lack of knowledge about the problems people face. These assemblies, like we had today, help inform students of the dangers of opioids and addiction. I think a coordinated and committed effort at every level of government, local, state, and federal, is the only way to tackle this crisis.”
Dingell and Clemente were also joined by Whitney Waskiewicz, principal of Lincoln Park Middle School; Simone Calvas, project director and community organizer for the Lincoln Park Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force; Gregory Clifton, Chief Judge for the 25th District Court; and Lincoln Park Mayor Tom Karnes.
The impact of the opioid epidemic on young people is often overlooked. Over the past decade and a half, opioid poisonings have nearly doubled among children and adolescents. Research shows that any legitimate use of opioids before 12th grade confers a one third greater risk of non-medical opioid use in early adulthood.
As a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, Dingell is working to stem the opioid epidemic through fully implementing and funding the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act. In Washington and in Lansing, Dingell and Clemente are working to pursue a multifaceted, collaborative public health and law enforcement approach to defeating the opioid epidemic, including through early education and prevention.