New surveys say drug education in Trumbull Co. schools has positive influence

The Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board asked students about their experiences with drugs and alcohol

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TRUMBULL CO., Ohio (WKBN) – Some good news is finally coming out of Trumbull County regarding the opioid epidemic — surveys are showing that drug education is working in helping students stay away from drugs and alcohol.

Nearly 2,200 sixth, eighth and tenth graders in Trumbull County schools took surveys over the last five years.

“I think one of the biggest things about this survey is it gives us some hope,” said Laura Domitrovich, chair of the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board.

Students were asked if they had ever tried anything from cigarettes to heroin.

“We saw some significant decreases in drug use across all substances,” Domitrovich said.

According to the surveys, marijuana-usage was down from 23 to 15 percent, cigarette-usage was down from 15 to 9 percent, prescription drug-usage was down from 10 to 3 percent and heroin-use was down from 3 to 0.6 percent.

Also, alcohol-usage was down from 25 to 19 percent.

In some instances, educators caught inconsistencies in students’ surveys, but they did not use them when adding up the results.

Some local parents said they were surprised at the numbers, thinking they would have been higher because of the opioid epidemic.

But, Domitrovich says a combination of more awareness and media attention, as well as drug education at home and in schools, has helped tremendously.

“Schools are now also required to start education as young as kindergarten,” she said.

To help your own children, talking to them is the best approach. Whether it’s at home or school, having conversations that might be uncomfortable are often the most important ones to have.

When it comes to parents who educate their kids about drugs, Domitrovich says, “Their children have about a 50 percent less likely chance of using substances.”

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