Louisville middle school students taught how to save lives with anti-overdose drug

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Students at Western Middle School for the Arts learned how to save lives by administering the anti-overdose drug Narcan on Thursday, another demonstration of the pervasiveness of the opioid epidemic.

The instructor was Stanford Milburn, a recovering addict who has been clean for more than four years.

“Having suffered from opioid addiction, I think back to a time when there could have been something different, a change in my life," Milburn said. "And I go all the way back to when I was in middle school."

Milburn is now teaching middle schoolers how to be that difference, training them how to recognize when someone is overdosing and how to use Narcan to try and save them.

“To be in middle school and have that kind of power, that makes them feel good, makes them feel like they’re a part of something," Milburn said. "And that’s what we want."

The Narcan training is part of a larger program called Louisville’s Best Hood. Selected students learn how to make a positive impact where they live.

“They could either wait for other people to do it for them, or they can take ownership and accountability," said Jou Jou Papailler, the group’s founder. "That’s what they’ve chosen to do, and that’s what excites me."

At the end of the training, each student received a Narcan kit, which they hope they never have to use.

“I feel happy that I know about it but sad that it’s going on,” one student said.

“We can help Louisville be a better place,” another said.

“If we weren’t certified, and someone was OD'ing in front of us, and we couldn’t help them, it would be like a burden on our back,” a third student added.

It is further proof that, in 2018, education is more than reading, writing and arithmetic.

“The end goal is to reduce drug addiction and gun violence by ten percent a year from now,” Papailler said.

Louisville’s Best Hood is also a competition. The student who demonstrates the greatest impact will win a cash reward.

If we can give them an opportunity to turn around and help the community, who knows where we can go from there,” Milburn said.

Copyright 2018 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.