80 Middle and high school students from more than a dozen WNC schools gathered at the Western North Carolina University’s Biltmore Park Campus for the first annual Student Summit focusing on opioid awareness and abuse prevention. Using the Head, Heart, and Hands framework students learned how opioids affect the brain, impact relationships and aspirations, and what peers can do to support a friend, start recovery and build community awareness. During the summit, students heard from each other, peer recovery specialists, and addiction specialists that inspired students to take action.
Buncombe County is proud to be the first county in North Carolina to hold a student driven opioid summit and as such, encouraged students to share their knowledge with state and local politicians and health leaders via social media. The students took pictures at the selfie station and wrote captions requesting policy change, improved supports for student health and possible solutions to the opioid crisis. Student media manager Imani Mosely shared a report on their successes and takeaways with the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.
This event was an incredible success and will occur every year from now on. Each year, a group of students from across Buncombe County will come together to choose a subject and steer the focus of the summit. We hope Buncombe County’s success will spearhead a movement across North Carolina and other counties will begin mobilizing students to create change.