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Operation Street Smart set for Tuesday at the Hopedale Volunteer Fire Department

T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM Emily Dodds, community coordinator for the Family Recovery Center, talks to commissioners about an upcoming seminar that teaches parents, teachers and officials the signs of drug usage in youth.

CADIZ — Operation Street Smart, a free public seminar to teach residents about the latest drug trends, will be held Tuesday at the Hopedale Volunteer Fire Department.

The Family Recovery Center and the Mental Health & Recovery Board, which serves Belmont, Harrison and Monroe counties, are hosting the event in order to teach residents the signs of drug usage in youth.

Representatives from the two entities met with Harrison County Commissioners Don Bethel and Paul Coffland on Wednesday to alert them to the event. Emily Dodds, community coordinator for the Family Recovery Center, said anyone in the county is invited to attend, especially those who are parents or work with youth.

“We’re trying to bring awareness to what children could be using to inhale or take these drugs. It’s a great program,” she added.

Patty Allen, associate director of the mental health board, said the program educates parents, teachers and, anyone in the community who is interested in learning current drug trends, paraphernalia, terminology, physiological effects and what youth can be exposed to.

“What we’ve learned through the opioid epidemic is that substance use and addiction touches every community, every race, every socioeconomic status. We want to bring awareness so that people who are connected to our youth know what to look for in order to better protect our community and, more importantly, to better protect our children,” she said.

Allen said they are seeing younger and younger children experimenting with drugs.

“What may look like a simple tobacco vape may not be tobacco. We’re also very aware that many times what may be just a (marijuana) joint can be laced with something else, and so there’s a huge risk associated,” she said.

Dodds said the event is being instructed by the Franklin County Drug Task Force out of Columbus.

“They are very in-depth and very knowledgeable about what’s going on, not just in their county but all over the state of Ohio, and that’s why they offer this program,” she added.

The event will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Hopedale Volunteer Fire and EMS Department, located at 103 Firehouse Lane in Hopedale.

Also, The Family Recovery Center and the Mental Health & Recovery Board will be working with Harrison Central High School to put on National Red Ribbon Week, a drug prevention and awareness program, Oct. 23-29. During the week, students will wear red ribbons to show their opposition to drugs.

In other matters, commissioners signed a proclamation declaring October Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Coffland and Bethel both sported the color purple in honor of the occasion. The proclamation was presented by Shaylynn Rush, legal advocate for Tri-County Help Center.

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