By Craig Royce
The Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, rocked to the rafters on Oct. 12 as thousands of Utah junior and high school students came to Salt Lake City to fight a national epidemic and perhaps learn how to save the lives of friends and family.
This event was partly sponsored by the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation. His brother, Jim Wahlberg, brought the students to their feet. The solutions presented were plentiful. The following Carbon County Pinnacle students desired to share a few life-saving reflections from the summit.
Senior Kylee Van Wagoner recalled one of a myriad of videos. The video was about a young man who struggled with addiction. When his mother became aware, she placed him in therapy. Deciding to be a “good person,” she went to a friend and informed her that her son was also using drugs. The informed became irate.
Shouting “Just because your son is in therapy and admitting to using opioids, does not give you the right to accuse my son.” Later that same night, the friend’s son, not in therapy, was found dead in his bedroom from an overdose. The point from Kylee’s perspective of the video is that if someone close to your kid is having a drug problem, try to help them as well as your own family member. Please try to save them as well as yourself from a “world of pain,” a life of pain.
Truly moved by the summit, Ethan Sanchez realized “…we should always encourage our family and friends to make proper choices. We all grow up to be responsible human beings in learning, in part, from other people’s mistakes, observing others. This does help us all get a clearer picture, understand the varied differences between right and wrong, good and evil. Parents, brothers, sisters and other family, please remember you are always modeling for others, especially younger children. Stay away from drugs and constantly encourage others to do the same. You will be saving your own life and will save countless other lives…”
According to Avery Maclean, “The summit was very long, but it taught me the road to opioid addiction is very short. What affected me the most were the images of the deceased loved ones, victims of opioid overdose death. This made me think that a preventative measure for an opioid abuser would be to place their image/picture in a grouping of deceased relatives and friends. Viewing yourself daily among the opioid dead could be a strong preventative measure… heavy, but possibly effective.”
Zachariah (Zack) Gibson recalled, “No matter what addiction you have, it WILL affect your family and loves ones all…” Zack wants to share two tech applications that help teens with the opioid problem. The first, Safe UT, allows teens to talk to someone in “real time” that has experienced what the user is going through. As well, FEND was created by teens to inspire other teens to become proactive, get out and personally make a difference.
Pinnacle educators Tara Peden, coach Eric Hansen and Celeste Fillingim accompanied over 50 students to Vivint Smart Home Arena.