PICKERINGTON, OH (WCMH) – The opiate epidemic is widespread and starting to affect teens and children at younger and younger ages. That’s why local middle schoolers are fighting back against addiction, with a plan to help addicts get treatment.

Five 7th grade girls from Pickerington Ridgeview Junior High School are tackling the opiate epidemic, head-on.

“I call them my power-horse girls,” said 7th grade English teacher Krista Messner. “This is exciting to watch them be in control of something that might actually work.”

The Ohio Department of Education and Battelle for Kids are challenging students to help solve the opiate crisis. It’s a state-wide competition for STEM schools.

“This group really came into the presentation with a solution,” said 7th-grade math teacher Tabitha Furlong. “They said this is how we’re going to help solve opiate abuse.”

“They’re going to sponsor somebody who is struggling financially at a local rehab center,” said Messner.

The students came up with the idea on their own.

“I hope that we will be known well and that when people see us, if they have problems they know to come to us because we can help,” said 13-year-old Amari Fisher.

They’ll raffle off baskets they created themselves and use the money to put addicts through treatment.

“I hope that we can raise enough money to help people pay for rehab,” said 13-year-old Ella Drake.

The girls also want their fundraising model to spread to other organizations and groups, to help save lives.

“These kids did a great job of understanding that this is not just about Ridgeview Jr. High,” said Furlong. “It’s not necessarily just about Pickerington. It is about the state of Ohio. It is about the United States.”

“I’m hoping we can stop everybody or most people from doing it, so they can actually have a life to live instead of doing drugs,” said Fisher.

To learn more about their project: CLICK HERE