ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Community leaders are reaching out to students, showing them the dangers of substance abuse, mainly opioids.
With summer approaching, the Dougherty County School System wanted its high schoolers to know the consequences if they find themselves going down the wrong path.
The Dougherty Alliance for the Prevention of Opioid Use Disorders, in partnership with Morehouse School of Medicine, presented to freshmen and sophomores of Dougherty High on Friday.
The hope was to convince them that a small high isn't worth their life.
Over 600 students listened to the importance of knowing how to say no to opioids, hoping to prevent opioid abuse and save a life.
Ninth-grader Dant'e Smith said he has summer plans and isn't letting opioids get in the way of that.
"I'll be doing weight training with football and going to summer camp," said Smith.
Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler spoke at his Alma Mater, Dougherty High School, to connect with the kids of East Albany like Smith, hoping they'll make better decisions than some of their peers.
"I want to empower these young kids that they don't get involved with drugs and I won't have to come across town to try to save a life," said Fowler.
Officials also explained that pharmaceutical drugs can look identical to the drugs made on the streets.
"Because the drug looks like it was prescribed by a doctor, don't mean it was," said Fowler.
Smith said he is making the decision to stay away from all drugs in general.
"Many people ruin their lives to something as small as opioids. You can overdose easily. You can kill yourself in less than five minutes," said Smith.
There were 17 overdoses in Dougherty County last year, in 2018, Fowler is hoping for that number to cease.
"If we can get through the summer without a death from drug overdose, we would be so happy," said Fowler.
At the end of the seminar, students took a test to make sure they retained all of the information. They also received pamphlets to take home to remind them of what could happen if they turn to drugs over the summer.