HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The junior class at Hillsborough High School was given a graphic lesson on the sordid world of drugs and drug addiction by watching "Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict," a production of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI.
The film presents real people describing their real life stories, discussing candidly their pathways to addiction, their lives during addiction, effects on their family and friends, and ultimately their continuing battles to become clean and remain that way.
Some also recount the battle against addiction lost by those they love.
“Open discussion about alcohol and drug abuse is a conversation that is happening in Hillsborough and around this country,” said Dr. Jorden Schiff, superintendent of Hillsborough Township Public Schools. “It is our hope that this very raw documentary and the conversations that follow this viewing have a powerful impact on our students.”
Following the Dec. 13 screening of the film, a panel discussion was held involving local and federal law enforcement, an addictions counselor, and a Hillsborough High School alumna who is a recovering addict.
Panel members discussed the current opioid crisis as a whole as well as what they are seeing in the Hillsborough community. Students were also provided with the opportunity at the end of the discussion to ask questions.
Gilbert Pilarte, Student Assistance Counselor at Hillsborough High School and staff advisor of several student organizations, has spent the past year with his independent study students and staff members, discussing and making arrangements for this assembly for the Junior Class.
“Involving the students in the planning process is essential,” stated Pilarte. “High school students talk with each other about drugs and alcohol. These topics are not new. We have to ensure that our students are comfortable and confident in the information that they are learning in order to steer these conversations with their peers in a positive direction.”
Additional drug and alcohol abuse workshops for students as well as community members and parents will be held in 2018.
On Jan. 31, 2018, the Hillsborough High School Sophomore Class will attend Steered Straight, a substance abuse and addiction program delivered by Michael DeLeon. That evening, DeLeon will do a second presentation for parents and students (ages 12 and up) at 7p.m. at Hillsborough High School.
Parents and community members can view “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict”on the FBI website.