By Hannah Poling
Start Talking Grove City held a community information meeting for parents of students in the South-Western City Schools District on Nov. 15 at Amazing Grace Christian Church.
The organization is a non-profit working to decrease the illegal use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs, and to cut down on crime in the city.
Start Talking Grove City partnered with Health Awareness and Recovery Together (HART) and local first responders to give a compelling message about the warning signs of drug, alcohol, and tobacco misuse as well as how to identify and counteract an overdose.
“If an addicted person is not ready then they are not ready. But it’s important you get the information from tonight to guide the person down the right path,” said Brian Kitko, vice president of Start Talking Grove City.
In July, Grove City council voted to accept a plan developed by the Substance Addiction and Mental Health Action Plan Committee. The plan identifies four main priorities: collaboration, education, prevention, and treatment/hard reduction/support with a series of goals and objectives set for various focus areas.
“This is affecting everyone in your community. We offer online resources for parents, teachers, and families. Simply having a conversation is the start of prevention,” Kitko said.
HART gave a presentation directed at having conversations with children of all ages. They discussed topics such as caffeine addiction, pills, vaping, marijuana, and common places where kids are known to hide different contraband from their parents.
“Be aware of what you put in your body and what it does to your body. One of the things more people are learning about is that your brain is still developing until you are 25 years old. The last part to form is the frontal lobe which makes the decisions. If they start using too many substances too early it can cause that to slow down,” a HART spokesperson said.
HART expressed that the conversation is about being aware. Some kids are taking drugs because they want to experiment and some are taking them because they are uninformed.
“I went to a party freshman year of college. I thought it was normal candy in a bowl on the table but it was edibles. I ended up having to go to the hospital because I thought I was dying,” an attendee interjected.
HART also informed parents to pay attention if their kids have a sudden change in friends, clothes, reading materials, or music or if they see any out-of-the-ordinary behaviors.
First responder Greg Tussing from the Jackson Township Fire Department also spoke about opioids, drugs, and how to counteract a suspected overdose.
“Opioids are a class of drugs. These drugs work on your central nervous system. An overdose of any type of medication is when you take more than you are supposed to or if you take the right amount mixed with something. It can be worse if combined with another medication,” Tussing said.
Tussing said that potential signs of an overdose are unconsciousness, pinpoint pupils, slow shallow breathing, faint heartbeat, limp arms and legs, pale skin, vomiting, and purple lips and nail beds.
The best way to counteract an overdose is by using Narcan, a medicine that rapidly reverses an opioid overdose. Tussing demonstrated how to use Narcan nasal spray and it was available for the attendees to take home with them for free after the event.
Tussing stressed that although using Narcan is great, it does not replace calling 911 or doing CPR if necessary. Narcan should be used to counteract an overdose until help arrives.
The event was well attended by members of the city council, community members, and the Grove City Mayor Richard “Ike” Stage.