My Name is Denise Mayer and I am the Founder and Director of Step up Anderson Township, a coalition for a safe, healthy and drug free community.
Last week, three amazing and intelligent young women at Ohio State took what they thought was Adderall as a study booster. Two are dead and one was hospitalized. These were poisonings not over-doses as they took counterfeit pills laced with synthetic Fentanyl. These were not drug users but kids who thought they were helping themselves study.
We as a community need to wake up to these dangers as well as to those of vaping nicotine, using dab pens with high dose Marijuana as well as counterfeit pills. There is no time left to say ‘It would never happen to my child” or "my child is too busy with sports, band, theater etc. to get involved with this stuff”.
Although the majority will never use, over 1 in 5 kids will and be impacted.
A child’s brain is not fully developed until approximately 25 and it is the frontal lobe, which is the decision part, that is the last to develop. According to government data, millions of Americans have both a substance misuse disorder and a mental illness.
This is Mental Health Awareness Month. There is an 83% crossover between drug use and mental health. What came first, the chicken or the egg. Did a child who was suffering with an undiagnosed mental illness self-medicate or did the child start experimenting and become addicted, psychotic or in some cases schizophrenic. High potency marijuana begun in high school has been shown to contribute to suicide.
Brian Hayes, our Crime Prevention officer, told me that parents have to be the ones to come together and shut down the vape shops who are selling to our kids. These are all over Beechmont Avenue and believe me kids are buying from them.
I started Step Up Anderson Township in the summer of 2018 to combat the vaping epidemic. We have disseminated literature provided a website and social media as well as many parent presentations and a Youth Summit to try to educate parents and teens about these dangers. School staff will tell you, if being 100% honest, that this is going on with our young people. More importantly the kids themselves will tell you.
Prevention should be primarily on the shoulders of parents, but we need to come together and fight this as a united community effort. This isn’t about politics, differences of opinion or disrespecting anyone. This is about the long term and in some cases the short-term health of our children. If we all care about our children as everyone uses as their mantra, it is time to step up where these illegal and deadly substances are concerned. As Greg Hudnall says “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to save one!”
Dr. Greg Hudnall
Get involved! Educate yourselves! Most importantly talk to your child early and often and let them know your expectations!! Believe it or not you are their number one influencer!!
Please visit our website or social media at www.stepupanderson.org and volunteer to help.