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Talking to Tackle Deadly Drug Abuse Among Kids

The State of Ohio
Friday, March 28, 2014 - 12:00pm
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The Kasich administration is pushing a program to battle drug abuse among kids.

Schools that had to double-digit snow day cancellations this winter can start making their plans, now that Gov. John Kasich has signed the bill giving districts four extra calamity days they don’t have to make up. The Ohio House has passed a nearly $2.4 billion state construction budget that funds a host of community, school, park and prison projects. Geauga County and Scioto County aren’t just on the opposite sides of the state – they’re on the extreme ends of a list of new state health rankings.

Ohio’s drug problem has been called an epidemic. Accidental drug overdoses went from being the smallest number of annual deaths from injury in 1999 to the largest number in 2010. And there’s evidence those drug abusers start young. Gov. John Kasich has been talking up a four-part program that he says can help. It’s called “Start Talking!”, and aims to give parents, teachers and other adults the tools they need to reach out to middle and high school kids before they start using and help them avoid drugs altogether. To explain the program are two people who've been traveling the state talking about it. Tracy Plouck is the director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. And Paul Schoonover is someone who knows the toll drugs can take all too well – his son Matt died of a drug overdose two years ago, at 21 years old.

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