ROCKY RIVER, OH (WOIO) - The heroin crisis continues to take its toll in northeast Ohio, and one organization is fighting back against heroin and other drugs by teaching children of its dangers as early as kindergarten.
Volunteers gathered to set up a fundraiser in Rocky River for Drug Awareness and Prevention Inc. Friday night. The non-profit teaches "Brain Power" in schools, a program to keep kids off drugs.
Two women who came to help set up for the dinner and raffle both have a personal reason for getting involved. Kim Liou struggled with an addiction to alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine for three decades.
"Something was missing my whole life and that made me feel like I found it. It was a nightmare the next 30 years. I used every day and eventually I had no choice but to continue using," she said.
Liou has been in and out of 16 rehab centers. Now, she has been sober for 11 years. She's trying to help others from going through her struggle.
"I can tell you I never felt happier in my entire life. Every day I do something for my recovery," she said.
Susan Harrington lost her brother to drug addiction. She believes what the non-profit is teaching can be life-saving.
"It's not about 'you might get addicted to heroin' -- it's a matter of if you try heroin you could die," Harrington said.
The goal is to reach children early so they never even touch drugs to begin with. Some students may need that extra guidance more than others.
"If your parents are using, who's going to teach children? They won't learn it at home. Then it does fall to the teacher, the classroom," Harrington said.
Drug Awareness and Prevention Inc. teaches programs in schools to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. So far the non-profit group has reached more than 35,000 students across Northeast Ohio.
"Anything we can do to help, it's our honor, it's our gift, it's our obligation to help those kids," Liou said.
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