As a parent raising my children in Worthington there are many things that cause me concern. I think that’s the nature of raising kids in society today and I feel really lucky that our family is connected to an amazing community and we have access to significant resources. In 2016, one of the things that gives me the most fear is Heroin.
In the United States we have an epidemic of Opiate addiction and Heroin. It’s affecting communities across the country and unfortunately, Worthington is no different. Last fall 60 Minutes ran a story entitled “Heroin in the Heartland.” As part of this story, a graduate from Worthington Kilbourne High School was interviewed. The premise of the CBS story is that heroin is cheap, easy to get, and in the words of CBS, “used by the kids next door.”
Sadly, there is nothing in this news story that is surprising to many of us. For several years now we have worked with families whose children have become addicted to prescription pain medication and/or heroin. We’ve lost several Worthington graduates to this epidemic. What we’ve learned through working with these families is that addiction can happen to anyone. The families affected by this addiction are “good” families who have “good” kids. Unfortunately, once addiction begins, it is very, very difficult to overcome.
As a school district we have worked to be proactive in our approach to educating students and families about opiate abuse. We have partnered with organizations such as “Drug Safe Worthington” to bring in speakers for our students and families. We’ve hosted “Tyler’s Light” and “Operation Street Smart” multiple times in order to better educate our community. Several years ago we partnered with the Worthington Police so they could implement a prescription drug drop box so residents could easily dispose of pain medication (this is critical as most opiate addiction begins as prescription pain medication abuse found in family medicine cabinets before escalating to heroin).
On August 1st we will be partnering with the City of Worthington, Drug Safe Worthington, Senator Rob Portman, Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to participate in a community conversation on the Heroin epidemic. The event will be hosted by the McConnell Arts Center in Worthington and is scheduled to begin at 5:30 P.M. Those who attend will learn about the disease of addiction, warning signs and preventive measures as well as have an opportunity to converse with experts who will answer questions and connect families with resources.
By partnering together as a community we will make Worthington a safer place for all of our children. Please consider attending this event. You can RSVP to Stephen White at Stephen_White@portman.senate.gov
-Trent Bowers, Superintendent