Fred G Davis Ohio Valley FFA Officers for 2016-17 named ACRMC Emergency Care Center renamed after Dr. Bruce Ashley West Union holds football Homecoming festivities First graders pick the Sheriff Cross honored by ODNR with the prestigious Cardinal Award Renowned Ohio artist visits WUHS Don and Venita Bowles named 2016 Outstanding Fair Supporters PES students part of new Lego League Ferno donates $2,500 to OVCTC From the cistern to the city water Basketball officiating class being offered in October Peebles rolls by West Union in straight sets Par for the course, Dragons sweep SHAC Golf titles Greyhounds hang on late for first win of 2016 season You have to understand the process to understand the job Alex K Miller Ann E Campbell Scott N Atkinson Senior Profile: Tyler Fowler Martin named to All-Tourney Team in North/South Battlefield Classic 200 years on the banks of the Ohio, in a little town called Moscow Edwin P Prince ACRMC Emergency Care Center renamed after Dr. Bruce Ashley Volleyball teams honor young cancer patient MHS honors veterans during pregame Kirker Covered Bridge gets a ‘Brown Goose’ facelift Adams County Heritage Days are Sept. 30-Oct. 1 Lady Devils prevail 1-0 over Peebles on Kickin’ Cancer Night Senior Profile: Patrick Baldwin Michael W Milby James R Grooms Sr. Fall Festival crowns Little Miss and Mister UPDATE: Pike County multiple murder Investigation; redacted autopsy reports released West Union Elementary names August Students of the Month SHAC streak continues for North Adams volleyball West Union volleyball picks up a pair of W’s Animal Shelter booth sees record crowds at Old Timer’s Day Festival Dragons top Manchester in Defender Bowl battle, 28-22 Senior Profile: Kendall Gallowitz Lady Dragons grab early lead in SHAC Tourney, final round is coming Friday Another Old Timer’s Days in the books and successful Run Gio Foundation to hold Oct. 1 benefit in Adams County Betty L Kelley Tom Cross, ACTVB Director, to receive ODNR Cardinal Award Seaman Fall Festival begins Wednesday, runs through Saturday Dragons still lead after two rounds of SHAC Golf, McCarty tops individual leader board Lady Dragons get SHAC win, downing Fayetteville 3-1 Overcoming obstacles, Pennywitt etches his name in MHS record books Dragons take first day lead in SHAC Golf Tourney New drug treatment offers more hope for recovering addicts Ronnie G Nace Lucille Wright Lois M Bixler Time to change those soccer rules Senior Profile: Hannah Grimes ‘Cruising up and down the main drag all night long’ Community effort erects town clock S Bridge to be replaced on Graces Run Road Senior Profile: Brittany Caldwell Lady Dragons break ACCC course record Dragons roll in county gridiron battle Down to last play, Hounds fall in heartbreaker I never won, but those lawn games were special times Donnie Austin Shari R Hiltibran Bentonville hosts 40th Annual Harvest Festival West Union soccer teams sweep Williamsburg, St. Patrick “Rockin” the mats again Senior Profile: Brittany Caldwell Sylvester Mefford Local teens selected to State 4-H Teen Leadership Council Connect with Serpent Mound over Old Timer’s Days Guthrie to speak about pests and diseases in beekeeping Old Timers Days Festival Cornhole Tournament is this week Defender Bowl coming Thursday Bentonville Harvest Festival holds Toddler Pageants 40th Anniversary Bentonville Harvest Festival hosts Baby Show 9/11 Reminds Us That We Are All Americans Lady Dragons are 2016 County Cup winners Bob Birchfield Senior Profile: Ryan Henderson Dragons take JV golf match Another rough night for Greyhounds, Notre Dame rolls to big win Remembering 9/11-15 years later Hughes honored at GABP Concussions and Youth Sports Roberta Newman to retire after more than 46 years at First State Bank Reaching out to the Baton Rouge flood victims Bentonville Harvest Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary Fire it up! Annual Jr. Fair BBQ cooks up another savory fare Lady Indians take down Whiteoak in four sets Senior Profile: Zack Best Greyhounds produce three winners at the 2016 Dragon Run Lady Hounds win in five sets at West Union Teresa Houdeshell Rosa Grooms Roy C Shiveley Mathew R Potts Staggs and Louiso to visit nation’s capital

Meeting encourages parent, child communication

New anti-drug website promotes early, frequent conversations with children

Patricia Beech – People’s Defender

Can we impact drug addiction by talking?

“We can,” says Susan Smith, Director of StartTalking!, an anti-drug website with considerably more teeth than past anti-drug programs like Just Say No.

The state-sponsored site provides parents, teachers, students, and businesses with tools and strategies that help start conversations with young people about living healthy drug-free lives.

According to Smith, the drug problem in Ohio has reached epidemic proportions. At a recent luncheon hosted by Holly Johnson and the office of Economic Development, Smith told local leaders, “Heroin addiction knows no economic boundaries. Every day, six Ohioans from every walk of life are dying from prescription opiate and heroin overdoses.”

Smith is not a stranger to the damage, is passionate about bringing StartTalking into communities.

Interested audience members listen to Susan Smith's presentation on "Start Talking", an anti-drug website. Photo by Patricia Beech - People's Defender
Interested audience members listen to Susan Smith’s presentation on “Start Talking”, an anti-drug website.
Photo by Patricia Beech – People’s Defender

“As a state, we’ve tackled this problem head on since 2011. We know there are a lot of folks in the trenches right now, and they need recovery options, we’ve worked with those groups to help make that available. We’ve also worked with law enforcement officers all across the state to make sure our communities and roadways are safe, but we’re not going to arrest our way out of this.

StartTalking was launched to give parents, guardians, educators and community leaders information and educational strategies to start the conversation with Ohio’s youth.

Parents360 guides caregivers as they attempt to open communication channels with children. Parents360Rx provides current information about “in” drugs and drug paraphernalia, and is used to educate adults about the dangers of drug abuse. It includes an eleven minute video of five families sharing their stories. Some of whom lost their loved ones.

In addition to educating adults, Smith explains that StartTalking believes schools have a key role to play in the battle. “So many teachers around the state indicated they wanted simple resources to get conversations started in their classrooms.” The site offers teachers Teachable Moments tips to kick off conversations with students.

The site also provides peer leaders guidance, “We knew that the kids would have a key role to play in this as well,” Smith says, “We look to our peer leaders in our schools and communities to help aid in the fight.”

Smith hopes that giving adults factual information and resources will spur action. “Once parents and other adults are aware of the problem, we hope that they act, and actually start having these conversations. We partnered with a non-profit professional organization called the Drug-Free Action Alliance, their Prevention Specialist writes the prevention tips. The tips are short, but they don’t just cover prescribed drugs and heroin, they run the gambit. It’s information any adult will need when raising kids.”

While much of StartTalking deals with recognizing and helping addicted youth, its central focus is on Ohio’s children.

“We need to do something to stop the next generation from going down this path,” Smith said “That’s why we started StartTalking, to arm parents and other adults who deal with youths in our state. This material will help us to have meaningful conversations with our kids.” StartTalking was based on national research that showed kids are 50 percent less likely to use drugs if parents have critical conversations with them. “They’re not always easy, sometimes it can be difficult, but it’s important to have these early and often,” according to Smith, “It’s a simple message that can have a long-lasting impact on our kids.”

For more information go to Start Talking@Ohio.gov.

Patricia Beech can be reached at 937-544-2391 or at pbeech@peoplesdefender.com

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