Weymouth sixth-graders learn about opioid epidemic
May 25, 2017
By Zane Razzaq
The Patriot Ledger
WEYMOUTH – “Don’t keep secrets in, get your pain out” was author Ginger Katz’s message to an audience of Abigail Adams Middle School students and parents Wednesday evening.
Ginger Katz’s son, Ian, died in his sleep of a heroin overdose in Norwalk, Connecticut, at age 20. Katz described her son as “bright and very sensitive, with an insight well beyond his years.” Eleven years after his death, in 2007, Katz wrote the book “Sunny’s Story.” The book is narrated by the family dog, Sunny, as he watches Ian’s addiction develop.
Katz and her family lived in Marshfield for two years, when Ian was 9 months old.
Wednesday evening, the sixth-graders from the middle school displayed over 100 pieces of artwork and read letters inspired by the book. Katz spoke to students and parents about her son’s addiction and took questions afterward. John Mullaney, the health educator at the school, said he wanted the students to be aware of the opioid epidemic at a young age.
“We have to start awareness earlier,” said Mullaney. “Kids are starting to get picked off even in middle school.”
The number of opioid overdoses has risen over the years in Weymouth, according to May 2017 data released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Fourteen people died of heroin overdoses in Weymouth in 2014; in 2016, the number rose to 38.
Students from Abigail Adams Middle School displayed over 100 pieces of artwork and read letters inspired by the book “Sunny’s Story.”
“I’ve always heard about drug overdoses but I never really heard about it from a family’s point of view,” read Taylor. “This book did make me sad but I have learned how truly evil drugs are.”
Money raised by the sixth-graders was presented to the Weymouth Police Community Outreach and The Courage to Speak Foundation.
Officer Jim St. Croix with the Weymouth Police Department encouraged the public to take advantage of similar drug prevention events.
“Show up, listen, we are here to help,” said St. Croix.