COLUMBUS– State Senator Tom Patton (R–Strongsville) today announced the formation of a statewide youth drug prevention effort in cooperation with Ohio Governor John Kasich and First Lady Karen Kasich.
The program, START TALKING, works to eradicate youth drug use through prevention. Research shows that youth are up to 50 percent less likely to use drugs when parents and adults talk with them about substance use and abuse.
“Drug abuse by youth in Ohio is one of the most pressing issues we are facing and demands our utmost attention,” Patton said. “It is my hope that the START TALKING initiative will properly provide our families, schools and communities with state support to prevent young people from falling into the traps that all too frequently lead to substance abuse.”
In 2011, drug overdoses were the leading cause of accidental deaths in our state, with one Ohioan dying from a drug overdose every five hours.
Coordinating with Governor Kasich, numerous schools have already committed to participating in the START TALKING program. The initiative takes the following four-prong approach that interacts with educators, school officials, parents, and students:
- Know! is a drug prevention and awareness partnership developed by The Drug-Free Action Alliance that targets parents and caregivers of middle school students and empowers them to raise their children substance-free. Its goal is to increase communication between parents and their children about substance abuse. This is achieved through free, twice-monthly emails that offer parent tips to families to help them talk about this subject.
- Parents360 Rx is a component of a national community education program developed by the Partnership at Drugfree.org that has demonstrated significantly increased knowledge of substance abuse among adults, thereby enhancing confidence in their ability to speak with teens about the subject. Ohio is disseminating Parents360 Rx Action Toolkits to assist parents and school leaders in hosting discussions locally to support prevention efforts in their communities.
- 5 Minutes for Life is led by the Ohio Highway Patrol and the Ohio National Guard, in partnership with high schools and the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA). Patrol and National Guard members talk to student athletes and encourage them to become ambassadors who lead peer-to-peer conversations that promote healthy lifestyles. The statewide partnership involves all 58 Patrol Posts, more than 800 OHSAA-member high schools and Ohio National Guard Service members from around the state.
- Building Youth Resiliency and encouraging good behavioral health among young people are both essential to enhancing their ability to resist substance abuse and addiction. The Office of Ohio First Lady Karen W. Kasich, in partnership with other state agencies, is seeking applications to assist local communities in utilizing evidence-based programs to help youth resist substance use. This initiative will give communities and schools the tools to develop student’s resiliency so they have the courage to push back against peer pressure.
Senator Patton encouraged all Ohioans to visit www.StartTalking.Ohio.Gov to learn more about this important initiative and to find ways to be involved with the fight against youth drug use.