The federal Drug Enforcement Administration and Wright State University are teaming up to host a rally dedicated raising awareness about drug use and prevention.
The "360 Power of You” Rally taking place on October 16, 2017 at the Nutter Center is an education and outreach event on drug prevention. Organizers especially want high school students, their families, and college age students to attend the event.
DEA Special Agent, Rich Isaacson, says for the last decade his agency has worked to develop a more "holistic approach" to dealing with the opioid crises.
"So what has come out of that is the DEA 360 Strategy - trying to focus on this problem from 360 degrees, and so were trying to work with professionals from prevention and education, as well as treatment and recovery as well as law enforcement so we can attack this epidemic from all angles."
Isaacson, who also serves as the DEA's public information officer for Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky, says the city of Dayton is one of eight cities chosen in the last two years to hold the Power To You rallies; cities the agent says have been hit hard by the opioid crises.
He says prevention efforts work over the long-haul, "when you start early enough and people are young enough, before the problem starts. Try to address the problem consistently with young people before they have dependency and addiction issues later in life."
Andrea Hoff is the director of prevention and early intervention with Montgomery County Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Services board. ADAMHS) is also a partner in the collaboration and Hoff says working together with other agencies is a long-standing practice.
"We have 535,000 people in Montgomery County and there's no way we can do it alone," she says. "We're just a stronger force when we work together on these initiatives. We have a stronger voice, we have the ability to pull in more citizens, more young people. So that really is our role here at the ADAMHS board is to create those connections."
Despite long-term efforts aimed at drug prevention, Hoff reminds us that the nation's drug epidemic is nothing new.
"The opiate epidemic is one were we are seeing fatalities at a level and a rate that we have never seen before, and it is absolutely tragic, but when that goes away, the next drug epidemic is right around the corner."
Hoff says the key is to stop being reactionary, and programs like the 'Power To You' rally can make a difference by showing what to do when tragedy strikes, learning how to rally in the midst of the crises, and get involved to help others.