COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Top state officials in Ohio are urging school superintendents to make resources for combatting drug abuse, addiction and overdose known to teachers, counselors and parents.
Letters signed by Gov. John Kasich, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio House and Senate leaders of both parties arrived on district leaders’ desks recently. They ask superintendents to help with the deadly opioid epidemic facing the state by disseminating information on available tools to teachers, counselors and parents.
Specifically, the May 27 letter discusses StartTalking!, an initiative aimed at encouraging teachers, parents and mentors to talk to students about drugs and the risks associated with abuse.
“It is simple but effective,” the letter said. “By having a conversation with young people about the dangerous consequences of trying drugs, studies show that we can reduce the likelihood of kids starting down a path to drug addiction by 50 percent.”
The educational toolkit GenerationRx, which includes age-appropriate lesson plans developed by Ohio State University and Cardinal Health Foundation, was also mentioned. The letter noted that resources available through GenerationRx can help districts meet new requirements for teaching students about prescription opioid abuse.
Keith Stevenson, superintendent of the 1,200-pupil Huntington Local Schools in Ross County, said he met with his principals on Thursday to review the resources laid out in the letter.
“It certainly is helpful,” Stevenson said. “They’re educational tools and there’s actually curriculum being made available. What’s really especially helpful is they are presented in a grade-band style, so we don’t have to guess what materials to use. They’ve done a nice job of breaking the resources down so that I think schools will be able to easily go in and find what’s appropriate for each grade level.”