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Battling the heroin epidemic with HEET

Hannibal Crews are working to combat the use of heroin by presenting the problem in a little more personal light.

A video created by a Hannibal Police Officer who's son tragically died from a heroin overdose has students thinking twice about using the drug.

"I was really shocked, it was really hard to see that," said Hannibal Freshman, Breanna Gonzalez.
"You know it touches their heart when you see someone who their family has actually been impacted by this. Versus an adult telling you don't do this because it's bad," said Hannibal Schools Superintendent, Susan Johnson.

Hannibal Firefighter Mark Kempker is the nephew to that police officer, the victim was his cousin.

"When his son, my cousin passed away and we've got through the issues, we wanted to do something that would prevent another family from having to go through what we had to go through," Kempker said.

That is when the "HEET Initiative" began.

Its purpose is to educate students of the dangers of heroin, and to show them the negative effects the use of the drug has.

Kempker, along with the school's Resource Officer presented the video to 9th grade students on both Thursday and Friday.

This followed a discussion that didn't sugar coat any part of what these responders have experienced when dealing with heroin users.

"Heroin is an issue. We have over doses that happen frequently. Sometimes when the overdoses occur we get people back and sometimes we don't," Kempker said.
"The HEET Initiative that we've started has changed the way that we do this class," said Hannibal Schools Resource Officer, Jonathan Borgmeyer. "It made it more focused on drugs and specifically heroin because these are the kids that are going to start running into that as a problem. And these are the kids that can really change the course of the direction that our community has gone as far as heroin goes."

By catching students at a turning point in their lives....

"Right now we're just trying to teach them and give them information to make a good decision," Borgmeyer said.

It's their mission to save lives.

"You know, when you loose a loved one and you lose one that's young, it's a very tragic loss of life. We don't want anyone else to have to go through what our family did so if we can do anything to help prevent another loss of life, to let someone out there that might be struggling know we're here to help, and by using this video we can educate the young students that they really hold the key to fixing this problem," Kempker said.

If you're with a school district or organization and would like more information on the Heet Initiative or would like to have the video shown to students, contact the Hannibal Police or Fire Departments.

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