Madison students take top honors in contest tackling opioid epidemic

MADISON, Conn. (WTNH) — There was a surprise celebration at the Daniel Hand High School morning assembly, as students learned that out of 500 videos, three Madison students took first place in the first-ever Operation Prevention Video Challenge put on by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Discovery Education.

The video starts off showing two brothers giving each other a high five while playing a video game. The narrator says, “Life is a collection of memories.”

madison opioid video 2 Madison students take top honors in contest tackling opioid epidemicThe 60-second video entitled “The Cork Board” continues to show the brothers together. Photos of their memories tacked up on a cork board until the older one reaches into a medicine cabinet. Their relationship is soon torn apart by opioid addiction.

“One time can even just push you over the edge. That’s where the addiction starts and then it just all goes down hill from there,” said freshman Carter Soboleski. He and sophomore Clay Knibbs portray the brothers.

“Even if you don’t die it still does bad things,” says Knibbs. “It tears apart families and friendships and relationships and all that stuff.”

Budding film maker Kyle Citrin, a sophomore at the school, directed the action.

“We wanted to show how easy it is to get addicted to it. How easy it is to start doing it,” said Citrin.

It took the trio more than a month to put together the powerful message.

“If I stand there and speak to them about something, it’s not going to resonate as much, and so this is what we thought is the best way to get to the kids,” said Kevin Hartman with the DEA Educational Foundation.

madison opioid video 3 Madison students take top honors in contest tackling opioid epidemicHe says opioid overdoses killed more people last year than car accidents.

“It changed my perspective about it,” says Knibbs, who now hopes this video will change others’.

The video ends with the pictures disappearing until a prescription is revealed beneath them on the cork board.

“Without even knowing,” says the narrator. “They sneak up behind you until the last pin drops.”

“Oh, [I’m] super proud,” says their teacher Luke Arsenault.

The ‘Intro to Video’ classmates will share the $10,000 top prize and so much more.

“To put it in some student words, ‘it’s awesome,'” said principal TJ Salutari.

“If this video could save a life I mean that’s just… I can’t even think about that either,” said Citrin. “That’s just the fact that something I made could just affect someone’s life so deeply is just crazy.”

Since Citrin and Knibbs are sophomores and Soboleski is a freshman this winning collaboration could continue.

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