ARCOLA, Ill. (WAND) – In an effort to reach students about the dangers of drugs, a guest speaker met with them in Arcola.

Middle and high school students from around Douglas County took part in the Tuesday assembly for an important conversation about the deadly potential of opioids. Nick Gore was the speaker, and as a recovering addict, he knows about the problem all too well.

“I share my family’s experience with it and what it looks like from the outside looking in, what you can do to help somebody instead of enabling them,” Gore said. “It’s a more difficult conversation with them because of the stigma. That’s what we’re hoping to do over the course of the day and moving forward is, let’s have these conversations.”

Arcola High School Principal Lisa Sigrist says she’s heard about students at her school having related problems.

“We have kids who deal with it, whether it’s themselves, whether it’s a family member, whether it’s a friend, and all of that affects them in many ways,” she said. “We want them to know there are a lot of people out there they can reach out to for help.”

Gore hears from a lot of those students everywhere he speaks.

“The conversations with the kids after are just, ‘thank you for having this conversation’, because we see it (and) we hear about it, but we don’t know how to talk about it,” he said. “We don’t know how to help our friend who is suffering.”

The numbers are shocking to look at when it comes to the damage opioids can cause. In 2017, at least 2,200 people died of an overdose in Illinois.

To get across the serious nature of the issue, Gore also sat down with parents and community members Tuesday night at Arcola High School for another conversation about opioid dangers.