Many times I sit down to write my monthly article and struggle for a topic. This time I’m having trouble choosing which topic to highlight. How did that happen? So, I’ve decided this article will be a bit different and hit on a number of topics.
First, on Wednesday, Aug. 1, I was a guest in the Lincoln Room of the Capitol Building as Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 1 into law. Senate Bill 1 increases the penalties for trafficking in fentanyl to the same levels as those for trafficking in heroin.
I was just one of many in attendance. Along with me were John Born, director of Public Safety for Ohio; Gary Mohr, director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction; Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer; Mark Hurst, director of Mental Health and Addiction Services for Ohio; State Sen. Frank LaRose and Brenda Ryan, who’s daughter died of a fentanyl overdose.
Seeing families devastated by drugs is heartbreaking, and drugs are constantly evolving, which is why we have to stay vigilant. It’s no secret heroin is deadly. Fentanyl is a drug we’re hearing a lot about lately. It’s deadlier than heroin and yet, until this bill goes into effect on Oct. 31, prosecutors can only charge suspects with a fifth-degree felony, the lowest possible felony. This bill is necessary, and thanks to the hard work of many people, law enforcement and prosecutors have another tool available to fight the scourge of fentanyl and maybe, just maybe, keep people from dying and keep families from experiencing devastating loss.
On a happier note, I also had the privilege of joining a large group of volunteers last Friday at United Way’s Supplies for Scholars event. The event, now in its fifth year, provides school supplies to students in Delaware County. From young pre-kindergartners to high school seniors, it was a joy to watch these youngsters pick out backpacks, compositions books (Who knew they came in so many colors?), notebooks and binders, not to mention markers, crayons, colored pencils, pens and erasers.
It’s so nice to take part in such a wonderful event, and those who organize it deserve a big pat on the back for a job well done. Supplies for Scholars helps parents check off the items on the school supply list that can sometimes seem overwhelming. More importantly, it builds a sense of anticipation and excitement with students about starting a new school year.
Prior to choosing their supplies, families could visit with different groups, including the Delaware General Health District, Turning Point, Drug Free Delaware, the Delaware Public Library and more. Each organization was engaging the children with games and giveaways.
One group in particular caught my eye. The Same Page Foundation is a group I’ve known about for a while now as I met the inspiration behind the idea, Jack Grote, through his mother. The Same Page Foundation was handing out books, fitting for their mission to inspire today’s children to become tomorrow’s leaders, one page at a time. The vision is a world where every child has a book to read and somebody to read it with them.
Some of my best memories are visits to the library with my children, helping them pick out books and reading to them. I truly miss those times. If you want to learn more about the Same Page Foundation, visit https://www.samepagefoundation.org.
And finally – today is First Friday – Cops and Shops! This is a free, family friendly event with activities for all. There will be police cars to explore, food to enjoy, a plethora of booths to visit, and a yummy bonus … if you ride your bike downtown for First Friday, you can get free ice cream. Don’t worry about a lock. There will be a bike corral at the corner of Central and Sandusky.
So join me and police officers tonight in a bike ride, ice cream, and family fun in Downtown Delaware.
See you there!!
Carol O’Brien is Delaware County Prosecutor.