Committee formed to study drug use prevention education in Ohio schools

Staff report

COLUMBUS — It was announced Thursday Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon will join 21 education, law enforcement, and health officials, in conjunction with law makers, to form the Ohio Joint Study Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, and House Speaker Clifford Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, announced the committee will examine the status of drug use prevention education in Ohio schools, and issue recommendations on options for implementing age-appropriate drug education in schools across all grade levels.

“Ohio is facing the worst drug epidemic that I’ve seen in my lifetime. We need to change how we think about drugs and talk about drugs, and we need to start this culture change with Ohio’s children,” said Attorney General DeWine during a press conference Thursday. “Through the work of this committee, we hope to identify strategies that schools can use to provide comprehensive, age-appropriate drug use prevention education across all grade levels to help prevent future addiction.”

The committee will hold multiple meetings across the state to find out what types of drug prevention education schools are currently providing, what schools need to help expand their drug prevention education efforts, and how to best provide this education across all grade levels.

“As a state we’ve made great strides in raising awareness about the opioid epidemic and making life-saving treatment more readily available, but we still have work to do,” said Senate President Faber. “I look forward to working with Attorney General DeWine and other members of this committee to bring the fight against opioid abuse into the classroom so our children can grow up in a healthy, drug-free environment.”

At the conclusion of the committee’s study, a report will be issued outlining the group’s findings and recommendations.

On the committee with Solomon are:

• Senator John Eklund, R-Munson Township

• Senator Joe Uecker, R-Miami Township

• Senator Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights

• Representative Robert Sprague, R-Findlay

• Representative Terry Johnson, R-McDermott

• Representative Heather Bishoff, D-Blacklick

• Tom Gunlock, President, Ohio State Board of Education

• Sarah Wickham, Senior Policy Advisor, Ohio Department of Education

• Cheri Walter, Exec. Dir., Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities

• Sarah Smith, Director, Start Talking!

• Molly Stone, Prevention Bureau Chief, Ohio Department Mental Health & Addiction Services

• Kevin Lorson, Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance

• Marcie Seidel, Executive Director, Drug Free Action Alliance

• Betsy Walker, Director of Community Relations, Cardinal Health

• Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer

• Dean Nance, Superintendent, Ironton City Schools

• Neil Gupta, Director of Secondary Education, Worthington City Schools

• Krish Mohip, CEO, Youngstown City Schools

• Chris Monsour, Columbian High School, Tiffin

• Stephanie Nowak, Fairfax Elementary Schools, Mentor

• Bob Hammond, President, United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley

Staff report