From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:
JAMES ISLAND, SC - Detectives are still working to find out how five Fort Johnson Middle School students apparently overdosed on prescription pills while at school.
According to police records, there are varying accounts of where the pills came from and where they were taken.
One thing not in question is that teenage abuse of prescription medication is a problem. It's estimated that every day nearly 2,500 teenagers will experiment with prescription pills.
Now a community is still wondering how those so young make such dangerous decisions.
"I thought it wouldn't happen to me and it sure enough did," Steve Pulley said.
Pulley is a recovering addict who is winning his battle with addiction.
"It was at an early age. It was at the middle school years. That's what I find with people who have problems later in life. That's the typical age when people start to experiment," Pulley said.
His youthful experimentation eventually sent him down an avenue of addiction which was a true dead end street.
"I had a lot of consequences that happened that I wouldn't have thought about at that early age. I had some legal problems. I had problems at school. I had problems with my family," Pulley said.
"Peer pressure is definitely a real thing and that exists. I think that some people do it out of boredom and excitement," he explained.
"So often the problem gets picked up but the solution to the problem, being recovery, needs to be talked about," Pulley warned.
We sought out those solutions. Not far from Fort Johnson Middle School is the Teen Recovery Program at James Island Baptist Church.
"Now currently we have between 11 and 12 students in the 'Life Hurt God Heals' program," family pastor Sean Rheaume said.
It's a safe place for teens to talk.
"It's a lot like Las Vegas. What is said here stays here," Rheaume said.
The teens can be open with pastors and counselors who get it.
"I was one of these kids," Rheaume said.
The teen recovery groups use the classic 12 steps balanced with biblical teachings.
"We lay it all out there. We don't cloak it with anything. If you are struggling with a specific issue, we let you lay it all out there," Rheaume said.
"Rescue a generation out of lifestyle of hopelessness through Jesus Christ," he added.
It's a mission tailored to teens.
"The first step is admitting that you have a problem. It's difficult to get them to say 'yes, I am struggling with this area.' But, once you break through that, the rest of the steps come a lot easier," Rheaume explained.
Image courtesy of WCBD-TV.