District Parent Advisory Council President Sylvia Stafford is impassioned about prying young people from the death grips of drug use and overdose. The Harnett County-based pharmacist joined forces with South Johnston High School Principal Dr. David Pearce to organize an opioid addiction information session for the school’s seniors on Friday.
Stafford and Dr. Pearce invited Harnett County Deputy Josh Christiansen, who serves in the Narcotics division; Amy Brown, a social worker from Harnett County; and Valinda Barefoot, mother of deceased SJHS baseball standout Josh Barefoot, who died of heroin overdose, to lay it all out on the table.
According to Stafford, the same type of program was held in Harnett County, and it brought forward eight students who admitted to drug use.
She added that after the success of the event at South Johnston that she and Pearce want to plan a presentation for the entire student body.
“It’s my mission being on the Johnston County Public Schools School Advisory Council to do anything to promote the well-being of our students and to save lives. Being a pharmacist, I’m all about it because I see it every day. I’m an advocate for students. If there’s anything I can do to save a kid, I will,” said Stafford, who said that people will typically turn to heroin abuse because the state has begun to crack down on opioid abusers.
According to Pearce, his mission aligns with Stafford’s, and he was glad to be able to offer the program at his school.
“Not only am I the lead learner, but I am one who truly cares about my students’ health,” said Pearce. “This is a mission for all who are entrusted with the care of our students.”
Valinda Barefoot, the mother of Josh Barefoot, a 2010 graduate of South Johnston spoke to the seniors. Josh died from a heroin overdose at the age of 24.
Alex Cunningham, a recovering addict, shared how abusing drugs and alcohol had impacted his life.