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Youth Drug Abuse Prevention Initiative

Today Governor John Kasich and Ohio’s First Lady Karen Kasich launched a new statewide initiative aimed at preventing drug abuse among Ohio’s youth. The “Start Talking!” initiative encourages parents and other adults to talk to children about the dangers of abusing drugs and other substances.

The majority of substance-free adolescents credit parents for the decision not to use illegal substances. Likewise, teachers and other authority figures can have a similar influence on youth and their decision-making.

Drug abuse is a public health epidemic, and Ohio is not immune. Use of illegal substances and misuse of prescription medications are both to blame for disability and/or early death among Ohio’s youth. A dramatic increase in prescribing over the past decade has brought these dangerous medications into the homes of the majority of Ohioans. As a result, addiction to prescription pain medications and their chemical lookalike, heroin, is on the rise. Ohio has made attacking the drug problem a priority, and since 2011, the state has adopted a multi-pronged approach to fight drug abuse from all angles.

Start Talking! gives parents, guardians, educators and community leaders the tools to start the conversation with Ohio’s youth about the importance of living healthy, drug-free lives. Through this effort, Ohioans will have access to an array of programs aimed at equipping parents, guardians, teachers and students with resources that could, in time, help young people resist the lure of drugs and ultimately turn the tide of abuse in Ohio.

The Start Talking! website,, features information, tools, TEACHable Moments for the classroom, a program pairing student athletes and law enforcement officials, and an opportunity for schools and communities to get help building youth resiliency through evidence-based programs.

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