KEYSER - As Scott Fury looked out upon the Keyser High School auditorium packed full of students, his voice was soft but serious.

By Barbara High
bhigh@newstribune.info
Tribune Staff Writer
KEYSER - As Scott Fury looked out upon the Keyser High School auditorium packed full of students, his voice was soft but serious.
“Put away your phones,” he said. “Nothing on there is as important as what you’re about to hear.”
The students had gathered for an anti drug program, but this one was not quite like the ones they had attended before.
The Student Town Hall started like many others which were hosted by the Mineral County Healthy Lifestyles Coalition, Mineral County Chamber of Commerce, and the Mineral Daily News Tribune.The program had some of the familiar faces - Pam Krushansky from the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office, A. Jay Root of the Mineral County Health Department, and  Patsy Koontz of Western Maryland Health Systems, as well as members of law enforcement and local media.
Yet the students were about to figure out that this program was going to be different.
Corporal Saville of the Mineral County Sheriff’s Department and the Potomac Highland Violent Task Force spoke from the podium not just as law enforcement, but as a parent whose child was in the public school system.  Savile warned the students of the dangers of drugs, saying, “It is scary the people you hurt along the way when your suffering from addiction.
You will do things you never thought you would.”
Saville spoke about how bad the drugs had become in our area. He told the students that they recently did a bust of 8.5 pounds of methamphetamine  which had a street value of almost a half million dollars.
He told the students that heroin has become prominent in our county. “Pain pills lead to heroin and then there is no turning back,” he said. “You will be addicted for the rest of your life.” Savile said the reality of it is that it’s going to hurt everyone who loves you, you will waste opportunities, you will spend money that you will later wish you had, and you will watch your friends die. He said it was not a pretty picture.
“Im not here to scare you, I am here to help,” he said.
He also reminded the students that a lot of the heroin out there today is now Narcan resistant.
When Mineral County medical examiner Chris Guynn took the podium, the mood turned somber.
“Two a week,” he said. “Since I was last here seven weeks ago, two people died each week within a 25 mile radius to this very building.
“That is 14 people who have died.”
He spoke to the students about a recent overdose incident that had resulted in a death. As he read the obituary, a picture of the young man shone brightly behind him.
“Our beloved son has died of a fentanyl overdose,” the obituary read. “ He had been fighting his demon for many years.  He would steal from family and friends to support the habit but we loved him so, hoping that Rehab would work.  This story is all so common in our area and our country.  He has left us with two beautiful grandkids that we will love and cherish forever.  Something must be done.  We do not want any other parent to feel this grief and pain that we are experiencing now but in reality, we all know there will be others.”
Guynn warned the kids that overdose had become the leading cause of death in our community. He said the tiniest bit of Carfentanil will kill you.
“I carry around body bags and toe tags,” he told the students.
One thing very different for the students was one of the guest speakers, who just a few short years earlier had sat in the same auditorium as the students.
Christian “Lucky” Arnold was a 2008 graduate of Keyser High School. He lettered in football all four years, he played baseball, and was voted Homecoming King and Mr. GT. Lucky was a member of the National Honor Society and Student Government. He graduated with $20,000 in scholarships, and was there this week to tell the kids exactly how he lost it all.
“When I got to college I started hanging with new people and I began to experiment with drugs,” he said.
He began to smoke weed and drink a lot of alcohol; that turned into ecstasy and other things. During this time he suffered some deaths in his family. It was at that time he started using the pain pills. That quickly turned to heroin, and even crack cocaine.
Lucky said during his senior year of nursing school he was doing clinicals one minute at a psych ward, and the next he was a patient there. He said his low was when they kicked him out of the nursing program. He said that was one of his first real lows, which was quickly followed by some jail time.
“I lost everything,” he said. “I hurt my family so bad and now I have to fight my addiction everyday.”
Lucky had to fight to become clean, and with the help of his family, he did a year in a Christian-based rehab center. “Everything I had numbed with the drugs came back when I became clean,” he said, adding that he had to deal with it all over again.
“I grew up with Deputy Fraley  saying ‘Just Say No,’ “ he said. “We had the lion and DARE. I never thought it would be me.”
Lucky said now he realizes that you truly have to say no if you want a future. He told the kids to make a non-option list and mean it.
“I wish I knew then what I know now,” he said.
He told the students “you’re a product of your environment, so surround yourself with people who will bring out the best in you. “If you set some obtainable goals for yourself and work towards them, then drugs won’t be an option,” he said  “Cause they will interfere with your goals.”
He challenged the kids before he finished by saying, “Don’t just talk about it, but be about it.”
As the program concluded and the students were asked if they had any questions, one teacher stood up and took the microphone. He began to tell the students about what kind of kid Lucky was.
 “He wasn’t just the kind that you liked having as a student; he was the kind of kid you prayed your own children would grow up to be like,” he said. “If someone would have told me that this would have happened to him, I never would have believed it.”
 He finished by saying that if it could happen to Lucky, then it could be any one of the students in the auditorium that day.