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Marsh Valley Educates Students, Parents After Arrests

Keeping kids off of drugs and out of trouble is no easy task, but Tuesday night, Marsh Valley School District reached out to the community to do just that.

It was only last week that four Marsh Valley students were arrested on charges of possessing heroin and prescription drugs, but the timing is a complete coincidence.

Tuesday?s event has been planned for months — it’s a part of the school’s Natural Helpers student-to-student mentoring program.

Bracken Scalise is a junior at Marsh Valley and he is going on his second year as a Natural Helper. He said the arrests hit home for him.

“(It?s) sad. Because you can’t do much about it cause it’s their choice and if you can’t get to them in the early stages of their life to not do that and take better choices, then they’re helpless,” Scalise said.

Scalise and the rest of the student body filled out surveys during Red Ribbon Week, and the results were released during the program. According to the survey, 65 percent of all seniors are dealing with drug or alcohol abuse in some way.

Principal Mike Welch said the goal of the meeting is to help kids find healthy outlets for those issues.

“With sexuality and with drugs, if we can educate the kids,? the behaviors can be stopped, Welch said. ?Many times on television, it’s glamorized — these things — and I think this incident that happened is an unfortunate one, we’re just glad that Bannock County was on top of it,” Welch said.

Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said education is the key. He said kids are melting down prescription pills and shooting up the synthetic heroin, and then looking for the actual drug. And it’s not just in Marsh Valley, he said.

“We’re in another generation now and we’ve got to keep it perpetual, so that, ‘Just say no’ doesn’t really apply. It’s ‘This is real, this is what it does, now you make right choices,'” Nielsen said.

Nielsen said the kids most likely to be caught using come from two-parent, middle class families.

But the school district isn’t alone in the fight. State Farm Insurance donated $5,000 to the Natural Helpers at Tuesday?s program.

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