Health, Science & The Environment
10:52 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Governor Launches Drug Abuse Prevention Effort Aimed At Youth

Governor John Kasich spoke in West Carrollton, south of Dayton, along with Attorney General Mike DeWine (left) and First Lady Karen Kasich.
Credit Lewis Wallace / WYSO

On Wednesday, Ohio Governor John Kasich announced the launch of a statewide drug education program called “Start Talking.” The program encourages parents and teachers to talk to young people about the dangers of heroin and prescription drugs.

At the launch event at West Carrollton Middle School south of Dayton, many of the speeches were emotional.

“Approximately 20 months ago, we had a knock on our door that no parent ever wants to receive,” said Paul Schoonover of Columbus. “It was the Columbus police coming to tell us that they had found our 21-year-old son Matthew, he had died of a drug overdose in his car in a parking lot. Matt was one day out of rehab...our son will not die in vain.”

From 1999 to 2011, the number of deaths from drug overdoses in Ohio multiplied by five.

“Start Talking” will work with teachers, schools and community groups through a long list of Ohio agencies. The project is now accepting applications for a million dollars in federal funds to go towards drug prevention programs.