The fine line between prescription drug abuse and heroin Is prevention

A new government report finds a link between prescription drug abuse and an increased risk of heroin use. Americans ages 12 to 49 that illegally use prescription drugs are 19 times more likely than others in their age group to begin using heroin, the report found. According to the National Survey on Drug Use, nearly 1 in 5 teens report abusing medications that were not prescribed to them. Sadly, every day, 2,500 youth (aged 12-17) abuse a prescription pain reliever for the very first time.

The Westshore Young Leaders Network, in response to the above staggering statistics, has taken a proactive approach to this nationwide epidemic.As members of the Cuyahoga County Opiate Collaborativean educational/prevention subcommittee was formed. This subcommittee received grant funding from Cardinal Health which allowed high school students in the Westshore District to receive training from students at Youth to Youth International in “The pHarming Effects” of prescription drug abuse. This peer-to-peer presentation was developed by Youth to Youth teens and is designed to be delivered by trained drug-free high school teens for interactive presentations in schools and their communities. The “pHarming Effects” presentation addresses the misuse/abuse of prescription drugs and how it is affecting youth today.

The Westshore Young Leaders Network is open to middle and high school students from Westshore Enforcement Bureau’s six western suburbs in Cuyahoga County: Bay Village, Lakewood, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, Rocky River and Westlake. Since 1975 WEB has been heralded as a model drug task force in Ohio. The primary goal of the Westshore Young Leaders network is prevention of alcohol and other drug use among teens through enrichment of skills in effective leadership, team building, decision making, and individual talent development.

While the Westshore Young Leaders Network was created to primarily benefit students, the initiative also allows school administrators, staff, counselors, resource officers, business partners, recovery agencies and local prevention nonprofits a setting to come together and share ideas and resources. A newly formed Parent Action Committee allows interaction, education and opportunities for parents of young leaders to meet families from neighboring communities. In this way, we strengthen success in school and in life for students in the Westshore Region of Northeast Ohio.

For information about the Westshore Young Leaders Network Membership and “The pHarming Effects” of Prescription Drug Abuse training or performances contact Noreen Kyle, School Prevention Specialist at 440-250-9916.

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