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Amid an opioid addiction crisis, which killed more than 1,000 people last year in Massachusetts, there's a big need for treatment. But some advocates for children say the state should also focus on prevention — and it needs to start early, as soon as middle school.
A group called the Addiction Free Futures Project is pushing a bill on Beacon Hill that would train and authorize middle and high school nurses across the state to screen students in grades eight, nine and 11 for drug and alcohol abuse. Eight Massachusetts schools are already trying this out, and starting in the fall, seven more districts will join the effort.
There's wide support for the measure, but there are questions. Among them, why start screening so young? Would teenagers talk honestly to a school nurse about alcohol and drugs? Is school the right place for this kind of intervention? And can the state afford it?
Dr. John Kelly, program director of Addiction Recovery Management Services at Massachusetts General Hospital. Associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
This segment aired on July 22, 2015.