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Government & Politics

Ohio Attorney General to Recommend Opiate Danger Education in K-12

Picture of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine at today heroin conference
KEVIN NIEDERMIER
/
WKSU

Members of the health, law enforcement and social service communities met in Beachwood today to discuss the growing opiate problem. It was part of a series of conferences sponsored by the Ohio Attorney General’s office. As WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports, they talked about possible solutions, and the increasing abuse of the more deadly synthetic drug fentanyl.

The attendees all agreed that you cannot arrest your way out of the opiate epidemic, and that while more treatment options are needed, that will not solve the problem either. Education and prevention, they say, are more effective tools. And Attorney General Mike DeWine says he will talk with state legislators about making that available in kindergarten through 12th grade.

“You have to do something that’s age-appropriate every single year. Is that going to solve every single problem? No it’s not, but it’s going to save a lot of lives, and there’s going to be a lot kids who don’t ever start who if they’d started they would have died."

As for whether there should be legislation to make that mandatory statewide, DeWine says "I think we have to be very careful, I think we have to work with the local communities, we have to give them some flexibility, but we need to have this debate statewide."

While heroin deaths were down slightly last year in Cuyahoga County, deaths from fentanyl were up and are on track to hit more than 400 this year.