Police finish fourth school year of anti-drug campaign

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Local police officers teach #NotEvenOnce, an anti-drug curriculum, to Manasquan High School seniors.

MANASQUAN — Local officers wrapped up another year of the #NotEvenOnce program at Manasquan High School, educating senior students about the dangers of drug use and empowering them with the knowledge they need to make good decisions.

#NotEvenOnce was started by the Manchester Township Police Department in 2016, after a young student in the township died of an overdose. The program, designed by teachers in Manchester, is taught to senior students as part of the health curriculum. School districts throughout the state, including Wall Township, participate in the program.

In Manasquan, the program is instructed by several officers from the sending districts, including: Sgt. Keith Stopera, Manasquan; Ptl. James Aridas, Brielle; Ptl. Christian Joule, Sea Girt; Ptl. Emmett Smith and K-9 Ersko, Spring Lake; Sgt. Ken Hager, Spring Lake Heights; Ptl. Eric Lieb, Belmar; and Ptl. Ryan Cantlon, Avon-By-The-Sea.

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The program, Sgt. Hager said, is about a week long and spread over the course of the school year in order to reach the entire senior class.

Students hear about the dangers of prescription pill abuse and heroin use, health concerns regarding addiction, legal consequences, real life stories, and how addiction can affect the user as well as their family, friends and community.

“The program gives the students the knowledge needed to make an informed decision to not try opiates or heroin, not even once,” Sgt. Hager said. “The program is an eye opener for the students to show the impact of heroin and prescription pill abuse.”

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