Officials who deal with drug overdose cases are trying to open young people's eyes to the dangers. On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office brought its new anti-drug program to Biloxi High School.
"Here's one that says 'Mr. Nice Guy'. It's called 'Cotton Candy' and it's really pretty," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Meynardie said as he held up a small bag with a smiling, round face.
While the contents look like a sweet treat, they are actually deadly.
"You could get this from somebody and it has no affect on your at all. Then tomorrow you buy the exact same bag, and it's full of some chemical that's going to kill you," said Meynardie.
The attorney stressed to students that drugs such as spice or synthetic marijuana can be laced with chemicals, like roach spray.
"That's like disgusting," said freshman Michelle Campbell.
The presentation was part of a pilot program called "Pills, Needles and Designer Drugs".
"Hopefully, it will save some lives. The purpose is to get as much information as we can to the students who don't have the information about these particular threats to our community. Opiates, spice, and bath salts are more dangerous than anything I've seen in my career," said Meynardie.
The students also learned how a dependence on prescription pain killers can quickly escalate to an addiction to cheaper highs, such as heroine.
"In Mississippi, we have a full blown opiate crisis," Meynardie told the group.
Personnel from Garden Park Medical Center in Gulfport also showed the devices they use to treat patients who overdose on drugs or alcohol.
"We may have to shove that tube down your throat to help you breathe," said Gem Gibbons, critical care services director.
The students then watched videos to see the sad, tragic, long-lasting effects of drug abuse.
"I didn't know that spice or bath salts can make you act that way," said one student.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi will continue the presentation at Biloxi High on Thursday. The staff also brought the program to Jeff Davis Elementary in Biloxi and will visit St. Patrick Catholic High School on November 29.
Schools interested in the free program can contact Melissa Dunn at (228) 563-1560.