Ohio’s Prevention and Education Strategies

The state of Ohio has recently put forth a considerable amount of effort in recent years. Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team has prompted critical actions in attempt to prevent overdose deaths in Ohio. This includes the adopting laws that expand the access of naloxone (an opioid overdose reversal drug), strengthening the oversight of prescription drugs, requiring youth drug prevention curriculum in schools, developing guidelines for prescribing, closing pill mills, provisioning grant support and implementing tool-kits to local communities, investing for the integration of Ohio’s prescription drug monitoring program with electronic medical records and pharmacy systems across the state, and a focusing on public health and youth prevention campaigns.

Three departments within Ohio have been working together to address this issue. The Department of Public Safety of Ohio is the forefront of the 5 Minutes for Life educational campaign. Within this, ‘Ohio State Troopers, Ohio National Guard, or local law enforcement speak with student leaders about responsible decision-making and encouraging their peers to live a drug-free lifestyle.” The Department of Education has passed legislation which requires local school districts to cover the dangers of prescription opioid abuse within their health curriculum. This plays a fundamental role in Ohio’s Start Talking! Initiative, which gives parents and educators tips for talking to the youth about drugs. Lastly, Ohio’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services “leads the state’s Strategic Prevention Framework to guide communities in developing initiatives to reduce alcohol and drug abuse among teens and young adults.”

In addition to these action by the state government, there are many cases where young people directed prevention and education strategies throughout Ohio. Groups such as Prevention Action Alliance and Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network are youth-led groups that took initiative amidst the opioid crisis. Additionally, young leaders from the Ohio 4-H Healthy Living Program created the display, “What’s in your medicine cabinet?” to raise awareness about the misuse of opioids and prescription drugs.