Hancock County high schools add drug prevention classes after student dies from fentanyl overdose

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. -- Students in Hancock County high schools are getting special lessons this week to teach them the realities of opioid addiction and overdose.

The program, which is new for the county, comes after a student died earlier in 2018 from a fentanyl overdose.

The Hancock County Prosecutors Office, Community Health, and Overdose Lifeline are teaming up to reach hundreds of Hoosier students. The lessons focus specifically on heroin addiction prevention.

In January, 16-year-old Jacob Root died from a fentanyl overdose. 19-year-old Anna Southgate was charged with reckless homicide in the case. The tragedy is what sparked the prosecutor's office to get involved with other local drug abuse prevention agencies to send a strong message to students.

They're hoping to teach students easy ways to deal with stress, other than turning to pills, which can be gateway drugs to heroin.

"We talk about marijuana and alcohol and even cocaine use, but we use it to show them that this can be the progression that can lead you into heroin use," said Overdose Lifeline Presenter, Kente Bell.

So far, four schools have received the specialized heroin overdose education. Organizers say they plan to reach even more schools soon.