Operation Street Smart

Feb. 11, the Community Action for the Reduction of Substance Abuse and the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center hosted an Operation Street Smart conference at the NCOESC. The coalition is funded through Mental Health and Recovery Services Board levy funds to bring prevention programs to Seneca County.

This conference is designed to educate parents, teachers, social workers, community partners and anyone else who are interested in current drug trends, terminology and drug paraphernalia. The goal is to arm parents and teachers with information necessary to recognize the influences of the drug culture on our children; to familiarize them with the different drugs our children face; and to share the experience and knowledge of undercover narcotics officers, so they are better prepared to help youth make good choices. Operation Street Smart has received the FBI Director’s Award for Community Leadership and the Project Know Award.

Staff of the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board attended this conference and report that the presenters were extremely passionate about their work and up to date in their knowledge of what’s out on the streets. The videos they shared were enlightening and frightening. It occurred to many who attended that the tricks these youth use to conceal their drugs and drug use or to extract what they want from the drug shows these young men and women have intelligence. To waste that intelligence on drugs is a tragedy this country can ill afford. How do we channel our children’s energy and creativity to greater, more important use in this great nation?

If we are honest with ourselves, we see that the war on drugs is like closing the barn door after the horse is out. Keeping youth from ever beginning to experiment with drugs is the key to keeping them from becoming dependent or addicted. That gene or receptor that a body has that screams to be fed more alcohol or drugs needs to never be introduced to drugs or alcohol. That is what prevention programs are geared to accomplish; to postpone, delay, or prevent the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Seneca County is fortunate to have a coalition that willingly partners with other community leaders to offer programs to educate the community of the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. As our youth are faced with drugs that are much more potent than when we were young we need to let them know that we have high expectations for their success in life. The majority of youths today do not use or abuse drugs; urge them be part of that majority!

The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties is committed to sharing information and resources for better mental health and the prevention of substance abuse. If you would like more information, please call the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties at (419) 448-0640. The board’s office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Nancy Cochran,

executive director