Heroin and Opiate Awareness Campaign

Message sent October 14, 2016

Let's Talk...

October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness month, bringing to light the dangers of prescription (and over-the-counter) medicine abuse and encouraging parents and other caregivers to be a part of the solution.

With one in four youth having misused or abused prescription drugs, the need for parents, teachers and community leaders to take immediate, preventative action is without question. There are several key steps that can be taken in your home and with your children to make a community-wide impact.

Monitor, secure and dispose — three vital steps in preventing prescription drug abuse among youth.

  • Make note of how many pills are in each medicine bottle; keep track of refills; and be sure you control any medication that has been prescribed to your child.
  • Lock up your medications in a safe or locked cabinet or drawer.
  • Take advantage of community drop boxes or drug take-back days for your unused, expired or unwanted prescription medications. Click here to find a drop box near you.
  • To properly discard prescription drugs in household trash, remove medicine from original container, mix with an undesirable substance such as coffee grounds or kitty litter, and place in a disposable plastic bag or other sealed container. Before placing in the trash, be sure to conceal or remove any personal information on the medicine bottle.

Talk with your children regularly about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

  • Dispel the myth that prescription drugs are safer than illicit drugs — they’re not!
  • Help children understand that even when taken as prescribed, there are health risks associated with prescription medications. When taken in an unintended manner, by an unintended user, that risk increases even further — with potentially fatal consequences. 

Advocate for the lowest dosage of a drug, to relieve pain for example, when being prescribed a medication for yourself or your child.

Role model appropriate behavioral choices by using your prescribed medications only as directed and not sharing them with family or friends for any reason.

Help spread the word —- this is when sharing is caring! Share this information with family and friends and consider making a brief presentation to your local PTA, civic association, or other group to bring about awareness on this issue. You can visit the GenerationRx website for additional information and downloadable resources to assist you in spreading the word.

Teen drug abuse is an epidemic, one that needs to be stopped in its tracks. As parents, teachers and other caring adults, we must do what we can to be a part of the solution. We must reduce access and availability of prescription drugs in our homes and educate ourselves, our children and our community about the potentially dangerous and deadly consequences of prescription misuse and abuse. We also need to help our children understand how appropriate use of medications can be beneficial in helping people live longer, healthier lives. The best way to teach that is by our own example.

For more information on proper disposal guidelines, visit the U.S. Food & Drug Administration website or ask your pharmacist.  Learn how to get the conversation started at StartTalking.Ohio.Gov.

Let’s Keep Talking...


Message sent September 9, 2016

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Born from pain and concern, the Wadsworth Drug Free Community Coalition (WDFCC) is dedicated to fighting the drug epidemic. With drug overdoses nearly doubling in Wadsworth from 2014 (23 overdoses, 4 fatal) to 2015 (42 overdoses, 6 fatal) -- and on the rise this year (39 overdoses, as of 8/30/16, and 4 fatal) – parents, school and community leaders, recovering addicts and others decided it was time to take action. 

Nick Bianco, a recovering addict who is deeply committed to helping people get their lives back, has brought a unique service from New England to our area. Wadsworth Recovery Connection (WRC) is a volunteer-based, non-professional phone service working to connect Wadsworth residents and surrounding communities with addiction recovery services anywhere in the United States. The line 330-334-5026 is staffed by passionate volunteers, Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

“People who are struggling can call us up and we will help them find a treatment option that best suits their needs,” explained Bianco. “It can be very difficult and overwhelming to find help, especially when someone is beat up from addiction. Since we don't have any residential treatment in Medina County, it only seemed natural to try and fill the gap by establishing Wadsworth Recovery Connection. Our goal is to lessen the burden on the person suffering.” 

WRC is strictly funded by donations and operates under Wadsworth United Methodist Church.

“We just want to help give people a fighting chance. With the severe shortage of resources, as well as the severe drain on what resources we do have, area residents are left with less than average opportunities to find recovery. We hope to balance those odds,” said Bianco. “Our goal is to help save children, fathers, and mothers. We believe that everyone deserves a shot at recovery, and their family members deserve it too. Hopefully, we'll save some lives.” 

“Wadsworth has actively engaged private sector treatment providers and encouraged investment in our community to aid in the availability and types of addiction and treatment services available to those in need,” said Matt Hiscock, the city's public safety director. “City and school officials have partnered to increase awareness and education about addiction and drug abuse issues by meeting with more than 30 separate addiction treatment services groups, producing the first community resource guide, applying for grants, assisting with bringing the LCADA Way (an outpatient addiction treatment center) to Wadsworth and more.” 

A website is in the works for Wadsworth Recovery Connection, where donations will be accepted and more information will be available about the service and its mission. Future goals Bianco has for WRC include raising money to pay for transportation to and from treatment centers for those who can't afford it, creating a scholarship fund, as well as covering operating expenses. 

Lets Keep Talking.....


Message to be sent July 12, 2016

Let’s Talk...

Recently, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released the 2016 National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary.  The report outlines the expanding public health crisis afflicting America due to the use and abuse of heroin and other opioid drugs. Some key facts:

  • The number of people reporting current heroin use nearly tripled between 2007 (161,000) and 2014 (435,000). 
  • Deaths due to synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl and its analogues, increased 79 percent from 2013 to 2014.
  • Deaths involving heroin more than tripled between 2010 (3,036) and 2014 (10,574) – a rate faster than other illicit drugs.

New to this year’s summary is information on a recent phenomenon—fentanyl disguised as prescription pills—something allegedly responsible for the death of many area overdose victims.  Motivated by enormous profit potential, traffickers are exploiting high consumer demand for illicit prescription painkillers, tranquilizers, and sedatives by producing inexpensive counterfeits containing fentanyl that can be sold on the street.

“We tend to overuse words such as ‘unprecedented’ and ‘horrific,’ but the death and destruction connected to heroin and opioids is indeed unprecedented and horrific,” said DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.  “The problem is enormous and growing, and all of our citizens need to wake up to these facts.”

The 2016 National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary can be viewed online. 

Let’s Keep Talking... 



Message sent June 24, 2016

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Research suggests that 50% or more of patients with psychiatric disorders abuse some type of drugs, yet there are relatively few treatment programs that address addiction and mental health disorders together. People with dual diagnoses of addiction and mental health disorders often struggle with treatment program models that attempt to treat either the mental health or the drug addiction first.  To be successful, patients with dual diagnoses need to be treated simultaneously for both. Because of the complicated regimen required to treat both mental health and addiction problems, patients and their families should look for treatment specialists and physicians who treat both areas. See the online article, Co-Existing Mental Health Disorder and Addiction Must be Treated Together: Expertfor additional information on this important topic.

Let’s Keep Talking...



Message sent June 3, 2016

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The Wadsworth Drug-Free Community Coalition has been formed in response to the opioid and prescription drug abuse epidemic sweeping the country and impacting all segments of society.  The organization continues to meet regularly.  Representation includes: the City of Wadsworth, Wadsworth City Schools, local media outlets, recovering addicts, families of recovering addicts, those who have lost loved ones, various treatment organizations, and interested community members.  The coalition has formed the following subcommittees: Organization & Strategic Planning; Fundraising & Evaluation; Awareness & Education; Public Relations & Advertising; and Community Assistance.   If you are interested in joining the coalition, the next meeting is June 29 at 6:00 p.m. at Wadsworth High School.  You can also contact Matt Hiscock at 330-335-2705 (mhiscock@wadswortcity.org) or Andy Hill at 330-335-1301 (ahill@wadsworthschools.org) for more information.

Let’s Keep Talking...


Message sent May 13, 2016

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Wadsworth is not alone in its efforts to help raise awareness and increase education regarding addiction and the ravages of the current heroin and opiate epidemic.  “Ohio C.A.N.,” an affiliate of the “National Change Addiction Now” program, recognizes that addiction is a family disease and includes family members in the recovery assistance process.  “Ohio C.A.N.” is hosting a community rally focusing on family drug abuse education and awareness in Cuyahoga Falls on May from noon to 4 p.m.  Everyone is welcome to attend.  More information can be found on the “Ohio C.A.N.” website by clicking here.

Let’s Keep Talking... 


Message sent April 19, 2016

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The opioid and prescription drug abuse epidemic is sweeping the country, impacting all segments of society. To help raise awareness of this epidemic, and to help educate young people on the dangers of addiction, the FBI and DEA have released the documentaryChasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict, a compilation of heart-wrenching, first-person accounts by addicts and family members of addicts about their experiences.  Click here for a trailer of the documentary (please note the video content may not be suitable for younger children). 

We encourage everyone to view the trailer and the entire documentary.  Additionally, there are several related videos available featuring law enforcement officers and prosecutors who often confront the tragic outcomes of opioid addiction during the course of their jobs. 

Let’s Keep Talking...


Message sent March 28, 2016

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We've heard many times from those in need of addiction services, questions like where do I go or who can I talk to?  The Wadsworth Drug Free Community Coalition made it a goal to create a community resource guide to list the various agencies and entities that can provide services to Medina County residents.  We are pleased to offer the following link (click hereto the 2016 Wadsworth In Need Resource Card for regional resource contact information.  In addition, the brochure is available throughout the community and will be updated annually.

Lets Keep Talking...


Message sent February 5, 2016


In November, Rob Brandt, President of Robby's Voice, spoke to our high school students about the dangers of drugs and his family’s experience with heroin.  Mr. Brandt was also part of the panel featured in the CBS program "60 Minutes."  The episode, “Heroin in the Heartland,” was highlighted in our November 20 community message.  On Wednesday, February 17, you are invited to attend a meeting where he will deliver a similar message geared towards parent(s)/guardian(s) and interested community members.  The details of the meeting can be found by clicking here.  Mr. Brandt is a phenomenal speaker who is very knowledgeable about drugs and the importance of awareness and education.  We hope you will be able to join us at the meeting.



Message sent January 22, 2016


The City of Wadsworth Police Department and the Wadsworth City School District have confidential hotlines that are available 24 hours a day.  The purpose of the hotlines is to provide an avenue for safety concerns to be expressed.  The phone number for the Wadsworth City Police anonymous hotline is 330-335-2769.  The Wadsworth City School District Safety Hotline can be reached by calling 330-335-1444.  Messages left on the hotlines are checked regularly and taken seriously.  As with other parts of our awareness campaign about the heroin/opiate epidemic, knowledge is power.  Please keep these phone numbers in mind if you ever have a safety concern to share confidentially.  Please also help us spread the word about the availability of these hotlines.


Message sent January 8, 2016


  Sobriety, recovery and hope are extremely important to those who struggle with addictions, as well as, their friends and families.  Two (2) very important groups have formed here in Wadsworth which offers addicts the opportunity to continue the discussion.  Heroin Anonymous now meets on Thursday evenings at 7:00 p.m. at the United Methodist Church annex located at 195 Broad Street.  In addition, a Drug Addicts Anonymous group meeting is held on Wednesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. at the Salvation Army Hall at 527 College Street.  Please spread the word about these important support group meetings.  


Message sent December 4, 2015

Let's Talk...

We have discussed addiction, identified drugs of abuse, shared some personal experiences and provided tips on identifying signs of addiction.  Let's talk about a potential lifesaving medication, Naloxone.  Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug which includes heroin and prescription pain medications like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone and Vicodin.  When administered during an overdose, Naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and can quickly restore breathing.

If Naloxone is given to a person who is not experiencing an opioid overdose, it is harmless.  If Naloxone is administered to a person who is dependent on opioids, it will produce withdrawal symptoms.  Withdrawal, although uncomfortable, is not life-threatening.

With basic training, non-medically trained individuals, such as friends and family members, can be trained to identify when an overdose is occurring and how to administer Naloxone.  This type of quick response by laypersons can mean the difference between life and death.

The Medina County Health Department (MCHD) has recently instituted Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) for Medina County residents.  Project DAWN is an overdose education and Naloxone distribution program.  Participants learn how to:

·  Recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose,
·  Make a 9-1-1 call,
·  Perform rescue breathing and,
·  Administer Narcan to someone experiencing an opioid overdose.

The MCHD will host Project DAWN training sessions on Tuesdays from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m.at the MCHD, 4800 Ledgewood Drive, in Medina Township.   Call (330) 662-0465 for more information. 

For additional information about Naloxone and Project DAWN, visit http://www.healthy.ohio.gov/vipp/drug/ProjectDAWN.aspx

Let’s keep talking...... 


Message sent November 20, 2015


A few weeks ago, the CBS program “60 Minutes” focused, in part, on Heroin in the Heartland.  The story addressed the heroin epidemic in Ohio, specifically in the suburban Columbus area.  Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine was interviewed as were a number of parents who lost a child to heroin.  One of the parents, Rob Brandt, spoke to Wadsworth High School students on November 6 about the dangers of the drug and his family's experience with it.  If you were not able to watch the “60 Minutes” episode when it originally aired, it is well worth your time to view it by clicking here.



Message sent November 6, 2015

The following information is being shared by the City of Wadsworth and our school district as a continued effort to raise awareness of the heroin/opiate epidemic impacting our community:



Some have asked if the heroin/opiate epidemic is exclusive to Wadsworth.  The answer is no, we are trying to raise awareness about an epidemic that is both a state and national problem and has impacted our community as well.  Recently, CBS aired a portion of a young heroin addict filming her own detox.  This addict happens to be a graduate of Wadsworth High School.  Please take time to view the video by clicking here.


The Ohio Department of Education, in partnership with the Drug Free Action Alliance, has launched a "Know" campaign that provides e-mail updates twice a month focusing on drug awareness tips for parent/guardian(s) and school officials.  You can sign up for these e-mails by clicking  here.


One way we can battle this epidemic is to raise awareness through education; knowledge is power.





Robby's Voice Presentation (2/17/2016)


Ohio CAN
Change Addiction Now Rally, May 21, 2016


Resource Directory


Message sent October 23, 2015

The following information is being shared by the City of Wadsworth and our school district as a continued effort to raise awareness of the heroin/opiate epidemic impacting our community:


Today many people know of family, friends or acquaintances who have dealt, or are dealing with, the effects of heroin or opioid addiction and its aftermath.  Below, we share just one of those experiences from the Riggs family of central Ohio.  Please take the time to view their story (please note the video content may not be suitable for younger children).   https://youtu.be/Qdj65B1lxVc

The Riggs family story is unfortunately becoming less and less unique.  Use the tools provided through our community's awareness campaign to continue to discuss drugs and drug addiction with your family. 



Message sent October 9, 2015

The following information is being shared by the City of Wadsworth and our school district as a continued effort to raise awareness of the heroin/opiate epidemic impacting our community:

LET'S TALK.........

Did you know 90 percent of addictions start in the teen years? (2012 CASA Findings)  Adolescence is the critical development time to talk about, stop, or address addictions.  Action by parents, family, and friends is essential.  Addiction is a complex brain disease.  Learn how to have better conversations with your teen, be a better listener, and build a stronger bond.  Encourage healthy risks, and find out how much you really know about their friends.  

Use the parent toolkit at www.drugfree.org (select Get Information on the menu bar, then choose Parent Toolkit) to learn tips and what to say to your adolescent.  Also, please view the latest installment of Inside Wadsworth on my.pegcentral.com to see what the city and the schools are doing to raise awareness and address this issue in our community.

A drug chart for parents to learn the facts about the (13) most commonly abused drugs is posted on the right.


  Most Commonly Abused Drugs

Message sent September 25, 2015 

The following information is being shared by the City of Wadsworth and our school district as a continued effort to raise awareness of the heroin/opiate epidemic impacting our community:


Nearly half of young people who use heroin start by abusing prescription drugs.  Is there a young person in your life on a path of abusing prescription medicines?  One in four teens report having abused or misused prescription drugs.  Some teens start by trying it at a party or with friends because they are curious or believe it will make them feel good.  Others start taking prescriptions legitimately when prescribed by a physician after an injury or dental procedure.  In some cases, legitimate use turns to dependence, abuse, addiction and then heroin use. (See the RX to Heroin flyer posted at the right of this article.)

This weekend take the time to remove unused and unwanted prescriptions and medications from your home.  Take these items this Saturday, September 26, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. to the Wadsworth Police Department lobby, in the rear of city hall.  An officer will meet you curbside, no questions asked, and dispose of unwanted and unused prescription medications.  No liquids or sharps may be accepted.




RX to Heroin Flyer


Message sent September 18, 2015

Today the city and school administrations announce the kickoff of a heroin and opiate abuse awareness campaign. In the coming weeks the campaign is designed to offer information, data, and resources on heroin and prescription pill abuse. We encourage the community to follow and participate in the campaign. Take time today to make sure you receive and participate in city or school social media sites and notification systems. We all need to learn more about this issue, and we need to continue the important community-wide conversations about the dangers and the signs of heroin and opiate use.  Please take a moment to read the campaign announcement letter; the link is provided below.


  Awareness Campaign Announcement Letter
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