New Hampshire Middle Schoolers Are Learning How to Use an Antidote to Stop a Heroin Overdose

Naloxone is a nasal spray that can stop a heroin overdose.

ByABC News
March 9, 2016, 2:42 PM

— -- Heroin is everywhere from middle class neighborhoods to high schools, where one in every eleven kids says it "would be easy to get heroin," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At Southside Middle School in Manchester, New Hampshire, several sixth grade students, between the ages of 11 and 12 years old, told ABC News' David Muir that they're used to seeing heroin needles near where they live.

"There's a park right by my house, and one time my mom told us that we can't go because two teenagers laid heroin needles down all over the park," said one student.

"I've seen one, like, outside the school," another girl said.

Chris Hickey, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) training officer for the Manchester Fire Department in New Hampshire, recently spoke to these students about the dangers of the illegal drug heroin.

The veteran medic said he's never seen a drug crisis like New Hampshire's current heroin epidemic. According to Hickey, kids are getting hooked on illegal and prescription drugs as early as sixth grade.

"Five years ago, I wasn't talking to 18-year-old (students) about this. I wasn't talking to anybody about it. But it's such a problem now, that I wouldn't be doing my job if we didn't try and help kids as early as we can," Hickey told "20/20."

Hickey began giving educational speeches about heroin in Manchester high schools in 2015, but after realizing that kids even younger were encountering heroin, he moved on to teaching in middle schools this year. He created a "Scared Straight" style of presentation on the dangers of heroin that has become a required part of the curriculum in Manchester schools.

During his presentation, Hickey taught sixth graders at Southside Middle School about Naloxone, the life-saving antidote for overdoses that is carried by ambulances, police and fire departments across the country. Naloxone, which is commonly known by the brand name Narcan, is carried by more than 700 police departments around the country, according to the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition.

Naloxone is the first FDA-approved drug to reverse the effects of a heroin or opioid overdose. Thirty-eight states allow laypeople to get Naloxone without having to get a prescription from a doctor, according to the Network for Public Health Law.

Hickey showed the students how to administer Naloxone by allowing them to practice using the nasal spray on him. For the demonstration, they sprayed a simple saline solution instead of the overdose antidote.

"This medicine is the only thing that's going to take that heroin, and it's going to take it out of your brain," Hickey told the students.

Watch "Breaking Point: Heroin in America," a special edition of ABC News' "20/20" with ABC News "World News Tonight" anchor David Muir on Friday at 10 p.m. ET on March 11.