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      Girls' overdose highlights larger drug issue in Benzie County

      A Benzie County teenager is in critical condition and another is recovering after investigators say the girls overdosed on a combination of alcohol, marijuana and prescription medication.

      Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel says this is all part of a larger problem in the county that needs to be at the front of everyone's mind.

      "We've had four deaths in the last two years," Sheriff Schendel said. "The fact that we're continuing to have these over-doses means that we all have to get on board. We all need to get involved."

      That is exactly what the Sheriff plans to do, but he can't do it alone.

      "We're in a unique time in our society where everybody is scrambling to make every dollar they can. Mom is working; dad is working. Even kids are working," said Sheriff Schendel.

      Schendel says budget cuts has taken liaison officers out of the school and left educators with the task of warning students about the dangers of drugs.

      "It's part of our curriculum in both our eighth grade and tenth grade health classes," said Benzie Central High School Principal Pete Olson.

      But like Sheriff Schendel, Olson says educating and protecting our children is everyone's responsibility.

      "It can't just be talked at school or just talked at home and not reinforced. We all have to be working together whether it's law enforcement. Whether it's churches and community organizations... we can only do so much just like parents can only do so much but I think our responsibility is to make those programs available to make the education available."

      "We have to fight back and we have to do everything that we possibly can to prevent kids from taking drugs and over-dosing on these drugs. It's going to take a community," said Sheriff Schendel.