Original Article: https://www.kmvt.com/2023/12/13/steered-straight-speaks-with-hansen-school-district-about-drug-addiction-prevention/

Author: /">Dereka Kay
Published: Dec. 12, 2023 at 5:10 PM MST

HANSEN, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — On Monday, the Hansen School District held a presentation with staff and parents of students about the vaping and fentanyl epidemic happening in Idaho and across the country. The presentation was hosted by Steered Straight’s founder and CEO, Michael DeLeon. Steered Straight is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to steer the youth on a path that leads straight to positive outcomes by providing effective student resources and more.

DeLeon shared his expertise on drug addiction and the growing issue of children involved in drugs and alcohol. Some of the stories he shared included a rise in death among teens from overdosing on drugs including fentanyl and how families who have dinner together frequently with their children, can help prevent them from being influenced by peers from taking drugs.

According to DeLeon, if you want to prevent addiction, you have to stop drug use from happening in the first place.

“Alcohol is a depressant and if you’re an adult, and you drink alcohol, it depresses the brain. But if you’re a child and the brain is not developed, it depresses the development of the brain. Nicotine is a stimulant. These vaping devices, chewing tobacco, cigarettes; and it doesn’t just stimulate the brain if the brain is undeveloped—a child. It stimulates the brain’s development,” said DeLeon.

The Steered Straight program was founded 17 years ago, and their goal is to not just educate students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, but the deadly impact these substances can have on their lives.