Teachers, students, and community partners will run 5k at Maple Point Middle School Friday evening to raise awareness about drug use and the opioid crisis.

#StandUpNeshaminy is an initiate in the Neshaminy School District that provides education and resources about substance abuse. Jan King, PE teacher and Leader of #StandUpNeshaminy, calls this run the Sunrise challenge due to its time and its symbolism.

“We struggled to come up with a name,” King said. “Since it’s an evening event and we’re trying to put the light out on stigma, we thought it would be good to call it the Sunset Challenge.

King wants to leave no stone unturned when dealing with this issue. Many high school, and even middle school, students are introducing themselves to illicit substances. But drugs affect elementary aged children as well.

“We have students in all levels who are going home and dealing with addiction issues,” King said. “We want to make sure we have the resources and programs available to help these kids.”

The #StandUpNeshaminy initiative deals with more forms of drug use than just opioids. King says vaping has become a large issue, especially in middle schools.

“It’s going to get ugly at one point because these young people don’t understand there is nicotine in what they’re purchasing,” King explained. “Addiction comes from nicotine. Within months to a couple years, all of these kids who are vaping will be smoking. This really is something the tobacco companies are not addressing well enough.”

In response, Neshaminy has started programs in each of its middle schools to address vaping. The goal is to help students understand exactly what they’re doing and why it’s not good for their bodies.

The Sunset Challenge is open to all ages and families. There will be a 2k run starting at 6:45 and a family walk at 6:50. The big run begins at 7 p.m., and all proceeds will be donated to #StandUpNeshaminy. Walk-ons are welcome.

More information on the initiative is available on the program’s website here.

WBCB’s Manny Jones contributed to this post.