Fatal Addiction: 4-H brings awareness to opioid crisis at Darke County Fair


GREENVILLE – According to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), in 2007, unintentional drug poisoning became the leading cause of injury death in Ohio, surpassing motor vehicle crashes for the first time on record.

This trend has continued. From 2000 to 2015, Ohio’s death rate due to unintentional drug poisonings increased 642 percent, and the increase in deaths has been driven largely by opioid-related overdoses. In Ohio, there were 411 fatal unintentional drug overdoses in the year 2000 growing to 3,050 deaths in 2015. On average, approximately eight people die each day in Ohio due to unintentional drug overdose, according to ODH.

Thursday afternoon, at the Great Darke County Fair, Genesis 4-H Member and Ohio 4-H Healthy Living Health Hero, Darke County Molly Hunt, Youth Development Specialist with Ohio State University (OSU) Dr. Theresa Ferrari, from the Ohio 4-H Health Heroes; and Darke County Extension Director, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development Rhonda Williams, presented and educated folks on the Ohio Opioid Crisis in front of the Youth Building. They featured a new medicine cabinet display, with interactive games and activities for children, teens, and adults, along with prizes.

“It’s a wonderful program, and I would love for Darke County to hear more about what will be happening in the next few months from Ohio 4-H.”

“This is a rural issue, not just an urban issue,” Ferrari said of Ohio’s opioid crises.

In an effort to enhance the Ohio 4-H Healthy Living Program, Ferrari said she and Carol Smathers of OSU Family Consumer Sciences wanted to achieve that through the leaders.

“Because we know that is a successful way to get teens engaged, is to give them real roles and real responsibilities,” Ferrari said. “This gave them an outlet for that. We know that our health issues are really important in our society. We started with nutrition and physical activity, with the obesity epidemic. This display came to be at the 4-H National Youth Summit on Healthy Living, which takes place at the National 4-H Conference Center, in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Last year, the Walmart Foundation funded the trip. We took 10 young people and four adults to the four-day summit to learn about all types of health issues. We we knew going into it, opioid abuse was a big issue. During the summit we have action planning time for something we wanted to bring back to our state. This is where this idea was born for the display.”

The display is a bathroom with a medicine cabinet full of empty prescription drug bottles. The labels have information printed about opioid abuse facts and other 4-H information. The outside of the cabinet is a mirror.

“The idea of the mirror, was look in the mirror; it could be you,” Ferrari said. “The opioid crises can effect any one. The idea is the medicine cabinet in your home can be a gateway into more serious things. It is now a pathway to heroin use and abuse, and a result in Ohio being number one in opioid deaths. What can we do about that? Educate and communicate – that is why we are here.”

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From left to right Darke County Extension Director, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development Rhonda Williams; Genesis 4-H Member and Ohio 4-H Healthy Living Health Hero, Darke County Molly Hunt; and Youth Development Specialist with Ohio State University (OSU) Dr. Theresa Ferrari, from the Ohio 4-H Health Heroes presented and educated folks on the Ohio Opioid Crisis, in front of the Youth Building at the Great Darke County Fair, Thursday. They featured a new medicine cabinet display, with interactive games, prizes and activities for children, teens and adults.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/08/web1_opiod4-h.jpgFrom left to right Darke County Extension Director, Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development Rhonda Williams; Genesis 4-H Member and Ohio 4-H Healthy Living Health Hero, Darke County Molly Hunt; and Youth Development Specialist with Ohio State University (OSU) Dr. Theresa Ferrari, from the Ohio 4-H Health Heroes presented and educated folks on the Ohio Opioid Crisis, in front of the Youth Building at the Great Darke County Fair, Thursday. They featured a new medicine cabinet display, with interactive games, prizes and activities for children, teens and adults. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

Wyatt Christman, seated, plays a game with Genesis 4-H Member and Ohio 4-H Healthy Living Health Hero, Darke County Molly Hunt at the Great Darke County Fair, Thursday afternoon. The game asked questions geared towards children about substance abuse and illegal drugs.
http://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/34/2017/08/web1_4-H-opiod.jpgWyatt Christman, seated, plays a game with Genesis 4-H Member and Ohio 4-H Healthy Living Health Hero, Darke County Molly Hunt at the Great Darke County Fair, Thursday afternoon. The game asked questions geared towards children about substance abuse and illegal drugs. Carolyn Harmon | The Daily Advocate

By Carolyn Harmon

charmon@dailyadvocate.com

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.

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