Ohio Governor John Kasich came to Finneytown Secondary School Wednesday to launch "Start Talking,'' a statewide effort to cut down the use of heroin and prescription drugs among young people.
Kasich, with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and members of his cabinet at his side, said Start Talking will involve parents, teachers coaches and the students themselves in helping end the drug abuse he said is in every town, in every corner of the state.
It is a problem, Kasich said, which won't go away on its own and has to be met head-on by every family in Ohio.
"Nobody should be embarrassed in a family with a problem,'' Kasich said in a meeting with school faculty and others in the school library. "This is life, folks. Drug addiction, mental illness - you can't hide it; you can't run away from it. You have to look at it and you have to face it."
Kasich, with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and members of his cabinet at his side, said Start Talking will involve parents, teachers coaches and the students themselves in helping end the drug abuse he said is in every corner of the state.
The governor had two parents with him whose children died of drug overdoses. Those children, and many others, might be alive today if they had been reached by drug prevention programs, Kasich said.
"What you can do is make a difference,'' Kasich said. "And what would they give to have just one of their children back because somebody did something that would stop that."
Kasich's Start Talking program is taking applications from schools and community groups from around Ohio for a million dollars in federal funds for drug prevention.
The "Start Talking" program has four parts:
- "Know!," a program to increase communication between parents and their children about substance abuse.
- Parents360Rx, which will disseminate "action tool kits" to help parents and school leaders in hosting discussions in their communities to support prevention efforts.
- "5 Minutes for Life," a partnership by the Ohio Highway Patrol, the Ohio National Guard, and the Ohio High School Athletic Association to talk to student athletes and encourage them to become ambassadors who will talk to their peers about healthy lifestyles.
- and "Building Youth Resiliency," which will be headed by First Lady Karen Kasich's office and will give communities and schools the tools they need to encourage students to have the courage to push back against peer pressure to use drugs.