TAYLOR, Mich. (WJBK) - An important assembly for hundreds of high schoolers in Taylor took place Thursday to teach about the deadly consequences of prescription pills.
Tere two members of Congress were on hand to deliver the message, hoping these teens carry the lessons they learn with them down the road.
More than 500 freshman at Truman High School got a crash course on the opioid epidemic, and how they can avoid becoming a statistic.
Congressman Joe Kennedy III and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell were joined by state and local leaders, law enforcement and others. It's a cause that is very personal for Congresswoman Dingell.
"My sister became addicted to prescription drugs at 9 or 10 years old, when nobody understood what it was. For the next 30 years, we tried to help her fight a drug addiction that was a nightmare," she said.
Dingell's sister eventually died of a drug overdose, and she says her older brother was also an addict.
"What we're trying to do is really understand. We want to hear from people in the community - what they think we need to be doing, what policies we should be looking at. Young people's where we really need to start to make sure that they don't become addicted," she said.
Dingell now works with Congressman Kennedy and other lawmakers, as part of the bipartisan heroin task force working to stop the opioid epidemic from spreading further.
"The stories are devastating and they're similar and I think it's been a clearing call for government at every level," Kennedy said.