Eldorado students raise red flags against opioid abuse - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Eldorado students raise red flags against opioid abuse

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ELDORADO -- Southern Illinois students brought awareness to the opioid crisis with red flags.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports over the past decade, nearly 11,000 Illinoisans died from opioid overdoses. In 2016 alone there were nearly 2,000 opioid deaths, almost twice the number of deadly car accidents.

One way groups are working to bring those numbers down is by raising awareness. Groups hope that with initiatives, like raising red flags in Eldorado Wednesday, will help get the word out.

"If we can have a chance to help somebody out just by putting up a colored flag around town then that's a really good thing to do," said Althea Poole, an 8th grader at Eldroado Middle School. "There's always a chance to help someone out, no matter what age."

Poole was one of many students who created and raised red flags against opioid abuse.

Everywhere from the local Legence Bank to Liz Cafe participated in the campaign, led by the Community Prevention Resources group.

"We jumped on board with them, and said let’s raise our red flags," said Tricia Johnson, Legence Bank Vice President of Marketing and Communications. "They asked if they could hang the flag outside the corporate building and we’re excited to share that."

Eldorado Middle School students went around and distributed more than 250 small red hand-held flags working to raise awareness.

"It impacts all of southern Illinois and everybody needs to be aware of the bad things that go with it," said Lori Quigley, an Eldorado Middle School Teacher.

Folks around Southern Illinois hope by raising flags, raising awareness and providing resources, they can help lower those stats and help those struggling with opioids. And Eldorado students, like Poole, plan to continue using their voices in their community.

"If you can make a difference and really do something about it, if you have the opportunity to try new things and get yourself out there to help people, then do it," Poole said.

To access the Substance Abuse Resource Guide, visit here.

To learn about the Southeastern Illinois Community Health Coalition, visit here.

To learn about the Illinois Opioid Action Plan, visit here.

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