By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department – Erwin High School student leaders want their classmates to unite against opioid abuse in North Carolina.
During the “Stand Up, Speak Out” assemblies on Wednesday and Thursday, all four grade levels learned the science, statistics, and personal cost of addiction. Bob Cummings, of Red Oak Recovery, spoke about the biochemical side of addiction, and Buncombe County EMS Training Officer Jamie Judd shared the scope of the opioid problem in our region. Kallup McCoy and Katelynn Ledford-McCoy, of RezHOPE Recovery, shared powerful personal stories of addiction, recovery, and redemption.
“My favorite kind of story is a comeback story,” Kallup McCoy said. “I want you to understand the power that you possess, that by speaking about these things, you can change the course of this epidemic. This disease thrives in isolation, on shame, on keeping you quiet. But there’s hope in recovery and healing in community.”
Erwin’s student leadership helped organize the assemblies through weekly meetings and conversations about what messages would resonate with their fellow students. They want their classmates to understand this community issue and generate new solutions.
“It allowed us to connect our ideas,” added Senior student leader Bella Lewis. “We’re in different grade levels and have different experiences, so our leadership committee took that all in.”
Senior student leader Trequel Hutchison said Kallup McCoy’s personal story had a powerful impact, especially when McCoy showed a video of himself during an overdose.
“His mother was recording that, figuring it was her last time actually seeing him alive,” he said. “That touched a lot of people.”
Sophomore student leader Keenan Clubb said he wants to reach those who are hurting and struggling in this region to let them know that resources are available, along with plenty of caring people.
“I want them to know that they’re not alone,” he said.