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Northern Panhandle Teens rally against problem of heroin

WHEELING, W.Va. – Just one time can end a young life: that’s the message local teens are sending residents across the Ohio Valley with an original public service announcement on heroin abuse that premiered Tuesday evening.

Four Wheeling Park High School students gathered to share their thoughts on the drug’s impact in the valley with the help of officials representing U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld, as well as several other local sponsors. Student members of the Drug Free Clubs of America from Ohio, Marshall, Brooke and Hancock counties worked to produce both 15-second and 60- second videos that include real-life scenarios and drug statistics.

A local media committee aided the students with the production process.

Before the video’s live premiere, Ihlenfeld spoke of the valley’s war on heroin.

“When you talk about this issue, you’ve got prevention, enforcement and treatment,” he said. “Here today, we’re talking about prevention, day one, and kids who haven’t gone down that path yet.”

Behind the scenes for the video were Wheeling Park junior Noah Clune, the writer and director, and senior Terrell Waitts, an assistant producer.

Clune, who created the film this semester, said he hopes to pursue directing as a career and wanted to use the PSA to help teens.

“If it helps one person, it’s worth it,” he said. “I felt like this plot would really touch kids, as opposed to another PSA that just tells you not to do something with no explanation.”

Waitts said he hopes locals will realize how important the issue is to teens.

“Production helped me realize my voice can be heard in the valley,” he said. “When people see me, they can say his goals and what he wants to do for Wheeling is fantastic.”

Senior Jordan Crow, the lead actor, said the 60-second feature explains drop-offs, a situation in which victims of heroin overdoses are left to fend for themselves at hospitals.

“I played a heroin addict who had three friends who dropped her off at the hospital to die because they didn’t want to get arrested.” she said. ” A lot of people tend to push aside that there is a heroin problem in the valley. I thought it was cool that we got to use scare tactics in a way to alert people that this is a problem.”

The PSA is one of four videos to be released in the near future and can be viewed on the U.S. attorney’s YouTube account. It can also be found through the Twitter hashtag #This IsHeroin.

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