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Northeast Metro Tech Superintendent-Director David DiBarri is pleased to announce that eight Northeast Metro Tech students attended the New Hampshire Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness last week. The event, which was put on by the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, was designed to educate middle school and high school students about the dangers of opioid addiction while promoting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. On March 7, Northeast Metro Tech students Ian Haley, Pedro Carbonera, Yenissa Ortiz, Arthur Andrews, Quinn Lemist, Christian DeJesus, Carley Sutherland and Julia Agostini joined approximately 9,000 students from Northern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire at the Southern New Hampshire University arena for the summit.
“The students we sent are leaders in our school and will be able to carry the message they took away from the event to the rest of the student body and members of their respective communities,” DiBarri said. “Opioid addiction affects every city and town, and it’s imperative that we look at proactive ways to help combat this disease.”
At the summit, attendees spent from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. listening to a series of speakers directly affected by opioid addiction. Keynote speaker Jeff Allison, a New England native and former Miami Marlins pitcher, shared his personal story of addiction and recovery. Students also heard from parents directly affected by addiction, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, New England Patriots defensive back Patrick Chung, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Jon DeLena.
“The most powerful speakers were the parents who had lost their children to opioid addiction,” said Northeast Metro Tech Adjustment Counselor Dina Baratta. “They’re who impacted the students the most. I think they left with a new understanding of the issue and a commitment to help others.”
Additionally, students watched a short film, “If Only” – coproduced by James Wahlberg with support from Recovery Centers of America and Millennium Health – which highlights the negative effects of prescription drug abuse and opioid addiction.
Following the event, students and Baratta met to discuss programs and initiatives they’d like to implement at Northeast Metro Tech.
Before the end of the year, the school will have its own showing of “If Only,” and the eight students who attended the summit will sit on a panel following the movie to discuss the message and answer questions.
DEA Agent DeLena visited Northeast Metro Tech on Friday, March 10, to speak to students about opioids and how to create a positive school climate. Students would also like to bring an athlete or additional relatable figure into the school to further speak about opioid addiction.