Locally produced video on heroin likely to air in county's classrooms

Health teachers discuss including `Heroin Kills' in their fall curriculum

July 14, 1999|By David L. Greene | David L. Greene,SUN STAFF

Carroll County schools are looking to use a locally produced video about the dangers of heroin use in classes this fall, and will begin showing the film on cable television next week.

County health teachers are meeting next week to decide how the video, "Heroin Kills" -- which has received statewide and nationwide acclaim -- will be folded into the curriculum on substance abuse.

William Piercy, assistant supervisor of health and physical education, said some pupils -- eighth-graders are one likely target -- will see and discuss the video in class beginning this fall.

The 35-minute film, set in Carroll, focuses on fictional "Jonathan," showing in compelling detail the teen's downfall and eventual death from heroin addiction. Several Carroll parents who lost children to heroin overdoses are interviewed.

The video will air on Prestige Cable Channel 21, the public school system's channel, at 10 p.m. July 21 and Aug. 18.

In-class discussions about substance abuse begin in fourth and fifth grades. Sixth-graders go through a 17-day curriculum run by the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program. Local police officers visit seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade classes to discuss drugs.

Because the video was initially targeted at youngsters, school officials have been working with Residents Attacking Drugs (RAD), which produced the film.

"We wanted to be part of it as a school system," said Piercy. He added that he believed "there is no place in the nation that has come together in a grass-roots effort and done something this powerful."

Superintendent William H. Hyde said he hopes the dangers of addiction sink in with students.

"This is not some casual thing you can do, and then take the approach that you are indestructible," he said.

Hyde recommended parents view the film with their children. The video is airing on television late in the evening to make it unlikely that the youngest of students will see it.

RAD donated copies of the video to Carroll schools and other county agencies, including the county Health Department, county libraries and Carroll County General Hospital.

RAD has sold many of its first 400 copies -- at $10 apiece -- to organizations elsewhere, including the office of Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Her office, which requested 45 copies, is showing the film in "Hotspot" communities, places involved in anti-crime initiatives.

Linda Auerback, the president and founder of RAD, was trying to juggle requests yesterday from television stations seeking information about the video. She said the group has been overwhelmed, and heartened, by the explosion of interest.

"When you get a letter from a kid who says, `I'll never use drugs because of it,' it feels great," said Auerback.

Pub Date: 7/14/99

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