Advocates call for heroin addiction curriculum in LI schools
Activists in Rocky Point are urging schools to step up their curriculum regarding drug and alcohol prevention.
Anne Mattarella and other parents who lost children to addiction are joining with community advocates to call for more universal addiction awareness in schools across Long Island and New York state.
"I think there needs to be a class dedicated to this," says Mattarella.
Lauren Nardone's 17-year-old daughter Michelle died from a heroin overdose in their home. She says it's time to be blunt with kids when it comes to using drugs.
"Scare them. Show them the reality," says Nardone. "Show them Christmas, instead of opening gifts show the parents going to the cemetery."
The Rocky Point School District says it already has a substance abuse curriculum for grades K-12. In 2014, state lawmakers passed a law requiring health education classes be updated to reflect the opioid epidemic.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael F. Ring said in a statement to News 12 Long Island, "The district has been at the forefront in the creation and implementation of substance abuse programs for many years."
He also said that schools are staffed with "substance abuse counselors at the secondary level as well as mental health professionals districtwide who are resources for students on a daily basis."
In June 2016, the state Education Department issued a 39-page resource packet with information about grade level content.