State funding bolsters area drug prevention, education programs

LISBON – At least three county police departments were included in a round of $2.7 million in state funding for public school drug prevention and education programs.

The Columbiana Police Department – which has one of the longest running DARE programs in the state – will receive $7,759 from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for its program.

Other county police departments that will receive funding are Lisbon, $4,200, and East Palestine, $1,766.

The attorney general announced in a press release that funding was awarded to 130 police departments and sheriff’s offices across the state specifically for drug use prevention education programs in schools.

Departments awarded funding were those that applied for the grants.

The Columbiana program was started in 1988 and is taught by Detective Wade Boley.

In January, the Columbiana South Side Middle School presented certificates to 77 fifth-graders for completing the DARE program.

Another graduation was held at the Heartland Christian School in May, with 23 fifth-graders presented with certificates for completion of the class.

Focused mainly on teaching students to avoid drugs, the program also teaches students how to resist any form of peer pressure, whether subtle or overt.

Columbiana police Chief Tim Gladis said an emphasis on drug abuse education and prevention can make a difference when it comes to drug epidemics – especially the growing opiate problem.

“Education, prevention, treatment, enforcement, and aftercare must be included in any solution if we hope to make any real difference,” he said.

Each department that received grant funding must also include over-the-counter prescription drug abuse prevention in its programs for the 2017-18 school year, the release stated.

“The abuse of prescription drugs is one of the primary reasons behind the current opiate epidemic in Ohio, which is why it’s important that students receive age-appropriate lessons about the dangers of these drugs at an early age,” Attorney General Mike DeWine said the in release.

Lisbon police Sgt. And DARE Instructor Shar Daub said the grant funding will also go toward the program in the Leetonia Elementary, which is taught by Lt. John Hancock.

Daub has served as instructor since 1999. She teaches the program to kindergarten through fifth grade and seventh- and eighth-grade students in the Lisbon School District while Hancock teaches the program to fifth-grade students in the Leetonia School District.

East Palestine Officer Brian Moore has been a DARE instructor for sixth grade in the East Palestine School District for nearly 20 years.

He hopes the program can branch out to other grades in the future.

“I would love to see some of the other grades receive drug prevention instruction. It is important. It’s a great program. I like the fact that it gives me the opportunity to meet some of the kids in a positive role,” he said.

Outside of the county, the bulk of funding was awarded to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, which received $114,568.

The next highest grant funding awarded was $87,329 to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office, according to the release.

kwhite@mojonews.com

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