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Hand High School students join the fight against drug addiction

MADISON --   In response to our nation’s drug epidemic, with drug overdoses on the rise, students at Madison’s Hand High School are taking matters into their own hands, honoring graduates of the school, who have died, who have died as a result of overdosing.

At least one of the members of Hand High School’s Class Council has done work with Madison Youth and Family Services, whose mission includes prevention.

"And, I ended up hearing that three students from a recent graduating class ended up dying from overdose and that’s just so heartbreaking," said Claire Hennessey, a Hand High School Senior.

So, the students collaborated with their school’s Safety Resource Officer, Steve Manware, and the Madison Police Department, to develop their "Hand It In" campaign, which plays a role in National Drug Take Back Day, which this Saturday.

"We, at the Madison Police Department, think it’s very important for the drug hand in because Connecticut is the ninth highest in the nation for opioid abuse," noted Madison Police officer Doug Harkins.

"I know that a very high percentage, close to 40 perecent, of people, who abuse opioids, get it from family and friends and often don’t pay for it," said Alison Lord, a senior.

So, the goal of their"Hand It In" program is to have Madison residents bring unused prescription drugs to the police department for proper disposal.

"If you flush them, like most people do, they’ll just go down the drain into the water system," said Natasha McCarthy, a freshman. "So, that’s polluting your water system. And, if you throw them away, then it’s polluting the landfills."

In addition to dropping off your prescription drugs, there’s another way Madison residents can help keep their families safe.

"MADE (Madison Alcohol and Drug Education Coalition) and Madison youth and family services have been kind enough to donate about 100 prescription drug lock boxes that you can pick up for free and take home," said Angie Nucolo, a junior.

And if you are a Madison resident, but can’t make it to the PD sometime Saturday?

"If you call 203-245-2721, that’s the dispatch center and they will have somebody (an officer) come out to your house and pick the medication up and dispose of it properly," said Hand High School SRO Officer Steve Manware.

The bottom line is you don’t have to live in Madison to take part in National Drug Take Back Day. If you’ve got unused prescriptions, either lock them up at home or Hand It In.

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