Medical professionals and politicians are in agreement: the nation is facing an epidemic of drug addiction and overdoses. The problem can be linked in most cases to opioids like painkillers and heroin.

A number of community organizations in Muskegon County worked together to take a strong anti-drug message directly to students and parents. On Tuesday, Oct. 3 Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson hosted a panel discussion to address the issue. The effort was in part to shatter myths that kids and parents may have about drugs.

With a large group of college students watching in person, and hundreds of Muskegon County students watching a live stream of the event, Daniel Nelson and Kayleigh McKenna talked openly about how trying marijuana as teenagers changed their lives.

For Nelson it lead to abuse of prescription drugs, heroin and jail.

McKenna's casual use of marijuana lead to a dependence on the drug, participation in a felony crime and a long prison sentence. Now she is on a mission to share her story.

"Even if it's just one I can stop from going down the road I went down, then I did my job," said McKenna.

And for anyone already using, or possibly addicted, McKenna says you must seek out help because it's too difficult to quit on your own.

"There is so much support around here in Muskegon, get help," said McKenna.

Watch the entire panel discussion here:

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