Chris Lopez knows the effects prescription pill abuse can have.
The ETSU pharmacy student watched his mom struggle with addiction for years. Eventually, when he was 15 years old, addiction won.
Now, he is using his family’s story to try and prevent others from following his mother’s path.
“It’s a story that I never imagined I could ever tell anybody, it’s a story that I never really wanted to tell anybody, but it is so important,” he said.
Monday, Lopez and fellow students launched their “Generation RX” presentation series at Hamblen County’s alternative school.
“We thought it would be a great opportunity for several of our students to be able to hear what he’s doing now and what he’s overcome,” said Director of Schools Dale Lynch.
The presentation consists of Lopez’s story combined with information detailing ways to get help and recognize addiction in others.
Prescription painkillers are the second most abused drug in Tennessee. 10News has done a number of stories detailing its wide-spread impact in East Tennessee.
Lopez’s message is simple.
“It doesn’t matter about the choices you’ve made in the past, what matters is what you want to do now,” he said. “I feel like if I can make a difference in one person’s life from telling that story, then it’s well worth it.”
Lopez and his classmates are scheduled to give their presentation Tuesday in Bristol, Virginia.
They hope to return to Hamblen County and visit both high schools in the fall. Ultimately they want the program to spread to every high school in East Tennessee.
Written by: Sean Dreher