Jerome Bettis speaks to Dearborn Fordson students about opioid dangers

- The bus is back in the D.

NFL hall of famer and Detroit native Jerome Bettis came home to the metro area for a very important event in Dearborn.

He spoke to student athletes about the dangers of drug abuse, specifically about the dangers of opioids. He has watched fellow athletes go from using pain meds to an addictive state.

"For me if we save one life, it makes a difference because you never know who that one kid will end up to be," said Jim Parrelly, Dearborn mayoral candidate.

With that in mind Parrelly asked his friend Jerome Bettis to address kids about the dangers of opioids.

On the field behind Fordson High School - all eyes were on the bus as he spoke frankly and directly to the young student-athletes.

"I want to try and use my knowledge and understanding," Bettis said. "These are (the) adults of tomorrow. If they can know some of the pit falls that are out there hopefully they don't get in a position where they are affected.

It's clear the education needs to start young as opioid addiction has become an epidemic here and across the country.

Throughout his career Bettis says he has watched his fellow athletes become injured and rely on pain medication and be forced to fight an addiction.

"If they are more understanding if they understand the medicine they are taking, there are risks associated with them," Bettis said. "If they know that they are, they are less likely to make those mistakes."

If elected, Parrelly plans bring the drug court back to Dearborn. Until then - he hopes conversations like this will help educate kids to stop the addiction before it starts.

"It is a topic that touches a lot of families," Parrelly said.

"It is important they know and hopefully I can use any celebrity I have and maybe they will listen a little bit more to that message," Bettis said.

In 2012 to save money, the Dearborn City Council cut its drug court program. Parrelly says the opioid crisis shows why the city needs to provide services and resources - especially for young people.

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