THUMBS-UP: When it comes to children and social media, along with the good that comes from being connected, you also hear about the very disturbing bad. You hear about bullying, you hear about harassment and, sadly, you hear a lot about youth suicide.
That’s what makes a program like Sources of Strength so important. Sources of Strength is one of the first youth suicide prevention programs that uses an upstream approach, according to Katie LaPira, spokesperson for Rockingham County Public Schools. This means that student peer leaders educate others through their actions and are trained to recognize when someone is in need of support. This leads to an increase in youth-adult connectedness since peer leaders were four times more likely to refer a suicidal friend to an adult.
On Oct. 15, nearly 80 student peer leaders took part in training at Broadway High School. It’s training that can help someone in need and prevent a tragic death.
We think nobody can connect to the youth of today any better than their fellow students. And any chance for a student to save a student’s life through talking, listening and helping should be applauded.
THUMBS-DOWN: In Harrisonburg and Rockingham County alone, there have been 37 deaths due to opioids between 2015 and Friday afternoon, according to data provided by law enforcement officers with Shenandoah Valley drug task forces.
It’s even worse in the northern part of the Valley, where opioids have caused 26 deaths and over 200 injuries combined this year alone between the counties of Shenandoah, Frederick, Warren, Page and Clarke and the city of Winchester, according to the data.
Opioids continue to be a problem all over the country on all levels of society. And part of the blame squarely sits with the drug companies that hand them out and by those who overprescribed them.
While the recent settlement in which Virginia could receive $530 million combined from the pharmaceutical distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and Amerisource Bergen and manufacturer Janssen Pharmaceuticals and its parent company, Johnson & Johnson, provides some monetary recovery, we have to wonder who is taking care of recovering the human toll.
Money doesn’t solve this problem. Education and maybe some harsher punishments for those responsible will.