Prevention Is Key In Combating Ohio's Growing Drug Addiction Epidemic
A Guest Column by State Senator Bill Beagle
September 20, 2016
[ Bill Beagle Home | Bill Beagle Press ]

It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Today in Ohio, we are spending an increasing amount of state and local resources on the tragic problem of heroin addiction. Sadly, much of our efforts are being devoted to those who are already wrestling with the problem of addiction.

For many Ohioans, addiction begins when legitimately prescribed narcotics are either misused or fall into the wrong hands. Once addicted, the body’s physical and psychological dependence often leads the user to pursue alternatives, such as heroin, which are significantly cheaper and, unfortunately, widely available. The rate of death caused by accidental drug overdose has increased by more than 400 percent since 2000. Drug overdoses claim the lives of five Ohioans each and every day.

Those struggling with addiction face a long road to recovery, which requires the help of a dedicated team of addiction specialists, mental health counselors and physicians all working together. The outlook for individuals already addicted is grim without proper intervention and treatment. Many here in our own community have experienced great success thanks to the efforts of professionals at the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health and the various Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Recovery Services resources serving the residents of Miami, Montgomery, Darke, Shelby and Preble counties.

State and local treatment and recovery services are making progress in saving lives, but adequate services come at a high cost for Ohio's taxpayers. The opiate epidemic is a war that must be fought on multiple fronts. Gaining a foothold requires innovation, determination, persistence and, most importantly, prevention.

In light of the growing prevalence of heroin in our communities, conversations with our children about drugs must take place earlier and more often than ever before. These discussions must begin at home and then be reinforced in our schools. Ohio's "Start Talking!" program provides helpful resources and suggestions for parents on approaching the topic of drug use with their children. For more information, check out the Start Talking! website at Children of parents who talk to their teens about drugs are up to 50 percent less likely to use.

Despite our best efforts at home, effective drug prevention programs in the classroom also play an important role in curbing addiction. Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recently formed the Joint Student Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education, which is made up of legislators, law enforcements professionals, educators and drug prevention and treatment specialists who are dedicated to reexamining drug use prevention education offered in Ohio’s schools. Ohio's General Assembly will continue to support drug prevention programs and other initiatives aimed at preempting addiction before it takes root.

No one silver bullet will end this epidemic. As the rate of death from accidental overdose continues to rise, we must join with our neighbors to do everything we can to reclaim Ohio from opiate addiction, beginning with our efforts to prevent another generation of young Ohioans from becoming users.

Featured Posts

Beagle Announces Approval Of $9.65 Million Investment In Sinclair Community College


"Serving more than 300,000 students across the state, it is important to continue to invest in community colleges that play a key role in Ohio's workforce development," said Beagle.


PHOTO: Beagle Joins Governor For Signing Of Senate Bill Raising Awareness For Deaf Culture History


"Deaf history is rich and complex, but not without adversity," said Senator Beagle, who sponsored the legislation in the Senate. 


Beagle Welcomes Industry Leaders To Statehouse For Ohio Aerospace Day 2017


"Aerospace Day is an important opportunity for us to showcase the many facets of Ohio’s rapidly evolving aviation industry and to inform policymakers about how we can lead in promoting this robust economic sector," said Beagle


ADVISORY: Beagle Announces Ohio Aerospace Day 2017 At Ohio Statehouse


COLUMBUS - State Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City), Chair of the Ohio Aerospace and Aviation Technology Committee, invites you to join him for a gathering of government, industry and academic leaders to discuss the future of Ohio's aerospace and aviation industry on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 at the Statehous