LUBBOCK, Texas – For the fifth year, University Medical Center paramedics are spending time speaking to junior high and high school students about the dangers of drug use.

UMC EMS Training Chief Chad Curry said that with THC, vaping, and now the major fentanyl epidemic, the presentations prove each year to be even more important to address in the classroom.

“We start off the talk with just explaining, you know, here’s what drug overdoses look like from a nation, statistically. And then we talk about the health effects of vaping then we move into marijuana, THC, that’s becoming a big thing. And then we of course, have to talk about the fentanyl,” he explained.

According to the CDC, about half of American high schoolers have reported using marijuana, and 15% have reported using drugs like cocaine, meth, or heroine.

Altogether, Curry’s team is presenting to around 15,000 students in the Hub City. However, they have reached some New Mexico youth this year as well.

Curry said, “We haven’t done it at quite this scale, with this many. We were in Roswell a couple of weeks ago and did 6,100 kids in three days there in that school system.”

Not only are they speaking to students, but also to parents about what they should look out for in their own kids.

Curry suggests that parents be very involved in their kids’ lives. They should check their room and car and start looking for signs and symptoms. He said this is something he has implemented as a father himself.

“It’s not that I don’t trust them, it’s just my responsibility. They have been given to me as a gift,” he explained.

He added that if they can touch one kid’s life with these presentations, then they made a difference.

And while these drugs are a major problem across the nation, Curry said he hasn’t seen big drug use amongst teens as much here in Lubbock compared to other places. However, the issue is still present and needs to be addressed to all ages.