Parents, kids learn about drug abuse at Big 33 Football Classic

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) – Sports, fans, and food may come to mind when you think of the Big 33 Football Classic, but parents and kids learned about drug and alcohol addiction before Saturday evening’s game.

Drug & alcohol tent at Big 33.

Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick says the county is on pace to double drug overdose deaths from the previous year. Local leaders are reaching out to the community in hopes of preventing more people from losing their lives.

“There’s a sign here on the table with all the different drugs,” Kevin O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke brought his 15-year-old son Ian to the tent run by the Dauphin County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services.

“It’s just something very important to us to make sure that the kids don’t get into drugs and alcohol,” O’Rourke said. “It is something in our family and something I want to avoid.”

Various drugs are shown in this display.

“I don’t know of anyone who wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I want to be a heroin addict,'” Hartwick said.

Hartwick says the board is trying to deal with the growing drug crisis.

“We’ve seen unfortunately the consequences be death,” Hartwick said. “Last year, we had 91 deaths in the county. This year, as we’ve talked to the coroner, that may be expected to double, and just two years ago, it was at 54.”

You can look out for warning signs your teen may be using drugs.

“Being more lackadaisical, exhibiting antisocial behavior, figuring out a way kids were very engaged in other activities, and now they’re becoming more withdrawn,” Hartwick said.

“Find your natural high because I have been to too many funerals. I have been to too many prisons, and I have been to too many institutions because of poor choices,” said Sherry Clouser, deputy director of the Dauphin County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services.

For more information on the Dauphin County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services, click here. You can get help by calling a statewide hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

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