December 21, 2014

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Amid heroin epidemic, schools to hold awareness night

GRAFTON — Four area school districts, including Columbia, Midview, Keystone and North Ridgeville, are partnering with the Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services to hold a drug addiction awareness night at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at Midview Middle School.

The goal is to help raise awareness on the issue of drug and alcohol abuse.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to host this important event,” Midview Middle School Principal John Brown said. “In partnering with several area services and school districts, we hope to bring attention to this very real issue faced by our community.”

The event comes on the heels of Lorain County Coroner Stephan Evans’ release of statistics showing that 2013 was a record-setting year for fatal drug overdoses in the county. There were at least 67 fatal overdoses from heroin, prescription pills or a combination of both in 2013, compared with 60 in 2012, according to Evans. There were 22 each in 2010 and 2011.

Evans has said the spike mirrors a trend in Ohio and nationally. As laws have tightened for prescribing pills, addicts have switched to heroin, which is cheaper and easily available on the streets. Evans said about 60 percent of deaths in 2013 involved heroin. In 2012, roughly 60 percent of deaths were from pills

Scheduled speakers for the upcoming event include Evans, pharmacist and Midview School Board member Janet Winslow, LCADA CEO Thomas Stuber, Judge Deborah Boros, Midview Schools Superintendent Scott Goggin and members of the Lorain County Sheriff’s Department.

Also speaking at the event will be Robby’s Voice President Rob Brandt. Robby’s Voice is a nonprofit organization that works to help prevent and deal with drug addiction by providing resources and tools for parents, students, schools and communities.

The schools plan to hold a second event in the near future, which will focus on supporting those who are fighting drug and alcohol abuse.

“Drug and alcohol abuse is something many individuals are struggling, with not only across the country, but in our local communities as well,” Midview Superintendent Scott Goggin said.

“This event provides us the opportunity to take our experience as educators and use it to inform and help those in our area. Our goal is to discuss the problem, bring awareness to it and hopefully educate one another on how we, as a community, can prevent drug addiction.”