Opiates and heroin abuse is 100 percent an issue in the Olentangy Local School District, according to Dr. Ryan Squier.
“And nobody is talking about it,” said the local emergency physician.
Squier will be the presenter for a forum open to parents in the school district at Orange High School, 2840 E. Orange Road, 7 p.m. Thursday.
The “Protecting Our Youth – Nix Opiates,” forum is sponsored by the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and the presentation is part of a statewide heroin and opiate education awareness program.
The format is “very real, kind of in your face,” said Allisha Berendts, the district’s first-ever supervisor of student well-being.
In 2015, there were 3,051 overdose-related deaths greater than the number of deaths from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Squier said.
“I see this daily,” in the inner city and suburbs, he said.
Squier, a resident of Olentangy school district, is a father of four. He said he gains insight from babysitters who go to school in the district.
“Opiates are easier to get access to than alcohol,” he said.
The forum will focus on the science of what opiates do in the body, Squier said.
“It’s a very unique drug,” he said. “I see people throw everything away for this drug.”
The forum will also talk about things parents can do to protect their children.
“We have to child-proof medicine containers and pill bottles,” Squier said. “[But] make sure our medicine cabinets are teen and young adult-proof.”
The forum will be presented to Orange High School students on Sept. 28 during the school day to educate them on the opiate abuse epidemic and the dangers associated with opiate use. If a parent or student chooses to opt their student out of attending the presentation, they need to contact the main office and those students will be assigned to a study hall during the time of the presentation.
Olentangy High School and Liberty High School students will be presented with the forum at a later date.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.