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Ohio 'Start Talking' Initiative to Prevent Child Drug Abuse Debuts in Marietta
Posted on: 04/23/2014
By  Justin Bradley
Officials from Ohio Governor John Kasich’s cabinet were at Marietta High School yesterday to talk about the new “Start Talking” initiative aimed at preventing drug abuse among the state’s children.
The new program is under the auspices of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Joining state officials were local education and law enforcement leaders, and a young man named Adam who shared his story of drug abuse and recovery. 
Adam tells WMOA News he’s excited to share his story and help get word out about the “Start Talking” initiative.
“I’m grateful to be here and I’m grateful the Governor and First Lady started something like this. I try to make sure that, in the recovery part of my life, I reach out in some way to help – whether it’s somebody still suffering addiction or alcoholism, or whether it’s something with the community, so I’m really grateful to be a part of this.”
Adam also says he expects“Start Talking” to make an impact because he believes there’s plenty of work to do.
“The fact is that Ohio has a real problem – and it’s nationwide – but it’s right here at home and we have to do something different. We can’t continue to have the same mentality and do the same things and expect something different to happen. We need to have resources available from a prevention approach, like we’re doing here, and the treatment approach.”
The director of the Ohio Department of Aging Bonnie Berman, told the assembly she wants the “Start Talking” program to help people understand the need for accountability, and how to be good teammates to one another.  
“The ultimate team sport is called ‘life.’ Sometimes when we make decisions we forget that they impact our family – parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, our schools.”
Others speaking at the presentation were Marietta High School head football coach Jason Schob, Washington County Chief Deputy Sheriff Mark Warden, and Marietta City Schools Superintendent Harry Fleming.
Dr. Fleming told those in the auditorium he has seen drug abuse negatively affect too many students in his years as an educator, including a particular instance that still sticks out in his mind.
“I had a student in the fourth grade who died of a heroin overdose. It just breaks your heart when you see happen.”
All of the speakers highlighted the real existence of child drug abuse in Ohio, and each speaker encouraged the audience to get word out about the “Start Talking” program on social media, and to reach out to people they think may be struggling with drug abuse. 
And, as Adam said, it may be time to for families to be more open with each other, talking about everything in each other’s lives at the dinner table again.
More information is available at starttalking.ohio.gov.
Story reported by Justin Bradley; edited by Mike Cullums
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