State Senator Joe Uecker (Miami Township) today joined Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and state legislative leaders to announce the formation of the Ohio Joint Study Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education.

The committee will examine the status of drug use prevention education in Ohio schools and develop plans aimed at implementing age-appropriate drug education in schools across all grade levels.

“This is another step in our continued efforts to combat Ohio’s opiate addiction epidemic,” said Uecker. “By strengthening our prevention efforts in Ohio’s classrooms, we can help to ensure that our children are equipped to make responsible choices rather than addressing the problem through the criminal justice system and addiction services.”

Senator Uecker is the Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Corrections and began his career in public service as a police officer, a position he held for 15 years. 

"Ohio is facing the worst drug epidemic that I've seen in my lifetime.  We need to change how we think about and talk about drugs, and we need to start this culture change with Ohio's children," said Attorney General DeWine. "Through the work of this committee, we hope to identify strategies that schools can use to provide comprehensive, age-appropriate drug use prevention education across all grade levels to help prevent future addiction."

"As a state we’ve made great strides in raising awareness about the opioid epidemic and making life-saving treatment more readily available, but we still have work to do," said Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina). "I look forward to working with Attorney General DeWine and other members of this committee to bring the fight against opioid abuse into the classroom so our children can grow up in a healthy, drug-free environment.”

The committee will hold at least four meetings across the state to find out what types of drug prevention education is currently being provided in schools, identify what schools need to help expand their drug prevention education efforts, and determine how to best administer this education across all grade levels.

Members of the Ohio Joint Study Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education include:
  • Senator Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township)
  • Senator John Eklund (R-Munson Township)
  • Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights)
  • Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay)
  • Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott)
  • Representative Heather Bishoff (D-Blacklick)
  • Tom Gunlock, President, Ohio State Board of Education
  • Sarah Wickham, Senior Policy Advisor, Ohio Department of Education
  • Cheri Walter, Executive Director, Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities
  • Sarah Smith, Start Talking!, Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services
  • Molly Stone, Prevention Bureau Chief, Ohio Department Mental Health & Addiction Services
  • Kevin Lorson, Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
  • Marcie Seidel, Executive Director, Drug Free Action Alliance
  • Betsy Walker, Director of Community Relations, Cardinal Health
  • Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon
  • Westerville Police Chief Joe Morbitzer
  • Dean Nance, Superintendent, Ironton City Schools
  • Neil Gupta, Director of Secondary Education, Worthington City Schools
  • Krish Mohip, CEO, Youngstown City Schools
  • Chris Monsour, Columbian High School, Tiffin
  • Stephanie Nowak, Fairfax Elementary Schools, Mentor
  • Bob Hammond, President, United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley

The committee plans to issue a report by the end of the year outlining its findings and recommendations.
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