Nash, who at 7 years old has a relative who has struggled with addiction, was wide-eyed as Jilian Reece, a drug prevention educator, talked about an ongoing opioid epidemic in their small rural community. She then demonstrated how to administer Narcan, an overdose reversal nasal spray.

“It’s just like a little squirt gun,” she told the group of children, before passing around the small plastic device for them to hold and squeeze. At the end of the session, each child received a blue zippered bag containing two doses of Narcan to take home…

In the past three years, the county’s drug prevention coalition has given Narcan training to an estimated 600 young children and teenagers in after-school programs, babysitting classes and vaping cessation courses. Some of the young people have in turn trained their peers and taken a leading role in distributing Narcan at community events, like a back-to-school bash last fall where one child gave out 70 doses.