Windham Middle School students get a lesson in the science behind addiction

Educating middle school students about the dangers of opioid use.That was the lesson of the day on Friday at Windham Middle School.Pharmacy students from the University of New England came into Ms. Starkey’s science class to teach 12 and 13-year-old seventh graders about the current state of Maine’s opioid addiction problem.During an hour-long presentation, the students learned how opioids can alter the brain, which is still developing even in people in their 20s.”The major point that we’re trying to drive home is this is very dangerous,” Julia Busiere said. “It’s very much in your community and don’t take anything else that’s not prescribed to you.” Busiere is a fourth-year pharmacy student at the University of New England and highlighted Fentanyl and how it is mixed with other drugs that can cause an overdose and death.The UNE students used table salt as a prop and passed out three small plastic containers, each with differing amounts of salt. The seventh graders were surprised to learn how just a few grains of Fentanyl are enough to cause an overdose.”It’s surprising that just a littlest amount can cause you to overdose,” said Will Byther, a student in the class.Ms. Starkey, the science teacher at Windham Middle School, said students in today’s world are unfortunately all too familiar with the effects of drugs, overdoses and even death.”There are some things that are so risky, it’s not worth trying,” Starkey said. The youngsters in this class are at an impressionable, pivotal age where peer pressures are all too common. Educators said it is key to get through to this age group.”One thing I’d be most scared about isally becoming addicted from being prescribed. I know that happens to so many people,” middle school student Maggie Soule said.”You probably shouldn’t use drugs because, at the end, it doesn’t really help you, it just makes it worse,” Byther said.Not every school is offering this kind of presentation, but educators in Windham said this should be part of any current curriculum.For more information, contact the University of New England’s School of Pharmacy.

Educating middle school students about the dangers of opioid use.

That was the lesson of the day on Friday at Windham Middle School.

Pharmacy students from the University of New England came into Ms. Starkey’s science class to teach 12 and 13-year-old seventh graders about the current state of Maine’s opioid addiction problem.

During an hour-long presentation, the students learned how opioids can alter the brain, which is still developing even in people in their 20s.

“The major point that we’re trying to drive home is this is very dangerous,” Julia Busiere said. “It’s very much in your community and don’t take anything else that’s not prescribed to you.”

Busiere is a fourth-year pharmacy student at the University of New England and highlighted fentanyl and how it is mixed with other drugs that can cause an overdose and death.

The UNE students used table salt as a prop and passed out three small plastic containers, each with differing amounts of salt. The seventh graders were surprised to learn how just a few grains of Fentanyl are enough to cause an overdose.

“It’s surprising that just a littlest amount can cause you to overdose,” said Will Byther, a student in the class.

Ms. Starkey, the science teacher at Windham Middle School, said students in today’s world are unfortunately all too familiar with the effects of drugs, overdoses and even death.

“There are some things that are so risky, it’s not worth trying,” Starkey said.

The youngsters in this class are at an impressionable, pivotal age where peer pressures are all too common. Educators said it is key to get through to this age group.

“One thing I’d be most scared about is accidentally becoming addicted from being prescribed. I know that happens to so many people,” middle school student Maggie Soule said.

“You probably shouldn’t use drugs because, at the end, it doesn’t really help you, it just makes it worse,” Byther said.

Not every school is offering this kind of presentation, but educators in Windham said this should be part of any current curriculum.

For more information, contact the University of New England’s School of Pharmacy.

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