Lubbock ISD leads the way with Friday Night Lights Against Opioids initiative

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 11:26 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock ISD is leading the way as the first district in the state of Texas to put into action the new Friday Night Lights Against Opioids initiative.

The program focuses on keeping drugs off the street and out of the hands of young adults. 3,000 at-home drug disposal kits will be distributed to fans to promote proper disposal of medication.

Attorney General Ken Paxton announced this initiative on Oct. 12, now LISD is putting it into action in the hopes of saving young lives.

Lubbock High football coach Juan Rodriguez says the issue of opioid abuse hits close to home for him.

“Without mentioning the young man’s name, I lost someone to an opioid overdose,” Rodriguez said. “It’s just something that hit home and it’s emotional for me because he was somebody that I loved and cared for tremendously, and he was like a son to me.”

An experience that’s becoming too common for families across Texas.

The CDC says more than 71,000 deaths were attributed to opioid abuse in 2021. That’s more than cocaine, meth and other prescriptions combined.

Dr. Jeanie Shawhart says Texas is no exception.

“In Texas at our poison centers almost 75% of the deaths that have been reported are related to medication exposure,” Dr. Shawhart said. “So we feel like the take back programs and medication disposal are very important.”

Lubbock ISD Athletics Director Mike Meeks says this is just one way for the Lubbock community to do its part in addressing a larger problem.

“I feel like this is something that we can do as a community service project,” Meeks said. “I think it has meaning to it. I think that as we move forward with this, the whole purpose is to create education to a problem that’s taking place in the state of Texas.”

Meeks says this program will create a safer environment by getting rid of old or unused medications.

“This gives us the means to rid our household of some dangerous medicines that could be very harmful to our kids,” Meeks said.

Meeks says one of the biggest objectives of the program is to educate. The Texas High School Coaches Association is using big names to do just that, showing public service announcements during every quarter featuring Hall of Fame football players.

“We’re awful grateful to have the opportunity to get the message out,” Meeks said.

Meeks says the Friday Night Lights Against Opioids coalition will truly get going in 2023. For now, he says the district will hand out the disposal Rx packets until they run out.