Committee formed to study drug use prevention education in Ohio schools


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina), and House Speaker Clifford Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) announced the formation of the Ohio Joint Study Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education.

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. “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.”

“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.”

“Tackling the state’s opioid abuse epidemic from all sides is crucial to stemming addiction and saving lives,” Speaker Rosenberger said. “Prevention is key, and this study committee will work to ensure that Ohio’s students are being educated early and properly so that they are aware of the dangers of drug abuse and addiction. I want to thank Attorney General DeWine for his efforts in creating this committee as well as my fellow colleagues in the House and Senate for their continual work in fighting this epidemic.”

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.

Committee members include:

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, OH Dept. Mental Health & Addiction Svcs.

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

Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon

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

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

Staff report

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