ST. CLAIR TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – In an effort to educate the public about the drug abuse crisis plaguing many communities in Ohio, the St. Clair Township Police Department hosted a collaborative seminar Thursday night at Beaver Local High School.
About 300 parents and students sat and listened to the “Operation Street Smart” program. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Columbus created the program in July 2002 as a way to take community-oriented policing to a new level.
The goal of the three-hour presentation is to give up-to-date information on drug trends, terminology, paraphernalia and anything else those who deal with the younger generation might need to know.
“The big thing for us is just awareness,” said Franklin County retired Captain Shawn Bain. “Making sure they’re better aware of what’s out there.”
The audience was left speechless by the open and honest words they heard.
Bain said they focused on the issue of concealing drugs during Thursday’s seminar.
“How do you hide the drugs from mom and dad, the police, bus drivers, whoever, so they can’t see it?”
St. Clair Township Det. Brian McKenzie warned parents to keep their eyes open.
“A lot of this is in plain sight, but nobody knows what they’re looking for.”
Beaver Local Schools Superintendent Eric Lowe said knowledge is power.
“We felt like it’s great, so people can see signs of possible drug use and at the same time, be proactive.”
St. Clair Township officers teamed up with the district and several drug advocacy groups one year ago to bring this program to the area.
That was long before the photo out of East Liverpool of two adults overdosed in an SUV with a young child in the backseat went viral six weeks ago.
“It’s generated a lot of conversation so with that, we’re hoping that people understand that this is a problem,” McKenzie said.
Lowe said administrators will be taking this knowledge into the classroom.
On November 16, WKBN 27 First News is airing a live town hall at 7 p.m.: “27 Investigates – The Heroin Crisis: National Problem, Local Solutions.” You’ll be able to watch it on channel 27 or stream it live on WKBN.com.