IRONTON— The Street Smart Drug Education Program held on Tuesday at Ohio University Southern in Ironton, provided a wealth of information that can be utilized for drug intervention.
Corporal Brian Toth, Narcotics Supervisor with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, said Street Smart Drug Adult Education was established 14 years ago, and is an award winning program.
“This is called Operation Street Smart, and what we do is drug education and awareness.”The program has been around for about 14 years. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office started this about 14 years ago,” Toth said. “We won the Governor’s Award and the FBI Award.
The presentation at OUS was conducted on Tuesday by Sergeant Mike Powell and Captain Sean Bain, both retirees of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, and Sergeant Dan Johnson from HIDA, who shared their knowledge.
The presenters provided three tables loaded with actual drug paraphernalia and trends that are utilized for recreational drug use. Samples were passed around so that each member of the audience could closely examine the contraptions.
Toth said the program is beneficial to parents, and those who work with youth.
“Anyone that has a nexus to children, this benefits them. We basically have a federal grant paid for by HIDA, which stands for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area which allows to go anywhere in the state of Ohio to educate people on drug trends, drug terminology, and the actual drugs themselves,” Toth said. “The Franklin County Commissioners will pay for our program when we are in Franklin County, then when we leave Franklin County, HIDA pays for it, and we go all over the country. Our grant actually comes from the White House, so it’s federally funded.”
Toth said there is a progression with drug abuse which typically begins with the use of pills.
“A young student that plays sports may get injured, and then prescribed pain pills. What happens when the doctor cuts them off from the pain pills? They start buying pain pills, but pain pills are too expensive, so they switch to heroin. That is why we have the heroin epidemic,” Toth said. “When we shut down all of the pill mills in Southern Ohio in places like Portsmouth we saw a rise in heroin. Any city is vulnerable to the drug epidemic.”
Mary Jane Parsons, student at OU Southern said she attended the Street Smart session to gain information.
“I attended this program, to get more information, get extra points for our class, and learn more about the drugs that are out there, to be aware of,” Parsons said. “I have nieces and nephews, and I actually saw some things of the tables here tonight that I have found in their rooms, and never payed any attention to it. Now I am more aware, and the little straws that they were talking about I have seen those and with some of my other family members I have seen the straws in their houses.”
Parsons said her family has felt the negative impact of drug and alcohol abuse. After the presentation Parsons said she plans on talking with members of her family that are involved in drug use.
“I can go back and let them know that, I know they are doing drugs, and just flat out tell them. A lot of my family has been hurt by drugs,” Parsons said. “I’ve had a step brother die of a drug overdose. I’ve had another another step brother die because of an accident related to alcohol. I do know that a lot of my family members do smoke marijuana. I can talk to them, and maybe they will listen. That is all I can do.”
For more information pertaining to the Street Smart Drug Adult Education sessions, visit the Facebook page at: Operation: Street Smart.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.