On April 10, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Las Vegas District Office hosted an “Opioid Youth Summit” for all high schools in Clark County at The Venetian. One thousand high school sophomores, who were selected as student leaders from each school, filed in to hear several speakers discuss opioid safety.
Speakers included Dr. Miriam Adelson, founder of the Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment and Research; Andy Abboud, senior vice president of Government Relations at Las Vegas Sands; Daniel W. Neill, assistant special agent in charge at the DEA; Adam Laxalt, US Nevada Attorney General; Ed and Cyndi Yenick, parents of Michael Yenick; Ryan Leaf, former NFL player; and Criss Angel, Las Vegas entertainer.
The goal was to educate high school students on opioid safety by facilitating an open conversation that will inspire them to share the knowledge among their peers. Guest speakers shared personal accounts of opioid abuse, accounts of loved ones who succumbed to opioid addiction, and delved into the science of addiction and brain development. By bringing together guest speakers with different backgrounds and stories, the DEA focused on the importance of community members working together to fight this epidemic.
“The whole purpose of this program today is for you to sit back, listen, and absorb this information,” Neill said to the students. “I want you all to be ambassadors. Go out and talk about opioid abuse because 175 people die a day of opioid abuse.”
With the support of community leaders, school officials, and featured guest speakers, students joined in on the fight against opioid abuse and addiction by pledging to become ambassadors. Students were presented with a challenge coin to help serve as a reminder of their oath and educate their peers on the dangers of opioids, as well as seeking assistance when needed.