The St. John Medical Center has seen a dramatic increase in opioid-related emergency-room visits and that adolescents are trying prescription opiates and moving quickly to heroin.
“The human brain doesn’t stop developing until 26 or 27 years old,” McCrady said. “When you introduce a drug into a developing human being, that’s what leads to that quicker addiction.”
State of North Carolina
Prescription drug abuse among area juveniles is on the rise and local officials say solving the problem should be a community effort.
"The major issue is the unauthorized possession of prescription drugs,".
The prescription drug problem "is a major uprise for not only the schools but for the state."
"The abuse and the issuance of prescription drugs ... is one of the key problems in today's society and that is and has been on the increase for a while now in the schools," he sad. "Most of it has to do with prescription drugs that they have access to either through their parents or another family member in the house. Some of these drugs are drugs that the child themselves may be legally taking and then taking them to school and sharing them with their friends and selling them to their friends."
Trudy Allen, a JPD detective in the juvenile division, said the accessibility of prescription drugs is a major part of the problem.
"It's easily accessible; we all have drugs in the cabinet," she said. "Any child can go into the cabinet and get drugs that are readily available. ... They can easily go into mom and dad's medicine cabinet that may not be secured and take out whatever they want to use."
In order to deter the presence of drugs on Onslow County School's campuses, prevention is key, Baldwin said.
"It may be in the form of assemblies, small group or individual discussions about using, possessing or distributing drugs on campus," Baldwin said, explaining that it is also addressed in the healthy living curriculum.
Intervention comes next, he said, explaining that it may involve small groups of students that may be "at risk of possessing, using or distributing drugs."
Oral Fluid Screening for Prescription Pain Releivers and Illicit Drugs