Sadly, there’s an epidemic in the nation today and Pickaway County is not immune.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that heroin use has increased in the United States “among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels.”
This increase in drug use has contributed to an increase in deaths from heroin overdoses. The CDC reports that “between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, and more than 8,200 people died in 2013.”
The Circleville Herald reported recently that in Pickaway County, drug overdoses contributed to 31 deaths between 2012 and 2014.
Contributing greatly to the problem is how easily it can start – with a legal prescription for painkillers.
Tyler Campbell of Pickerington was a bright young man with a promising college football career. While playing Division I football for the University of Akron, Tyler needed surgery after an injury. He was prescribed painkillers and, wanting to be able to practice, Tyler continued to increase his use of painkillers.
When he couldn’t get a prescription any more, he turned to heroin. His addiction spiraled and he dropped out of school. His parents, Wayne and Christy, tried to help Tyler get off drugs.
But in 2011, Wayne and Christy lost their son to an overdose.
Wayne learned during Tyler’s calling hours that their family’s story is not unique. As the CDC reported, heroin use doesn’t discriminate by gender, age or income.
Wayne started Tyler’s Light to provide communities “with information and resources to help people choose a drug-free life, while providing resources for family members and/or friends.”
Wayne addressed the Circleville High School student body recently ahead of the introduction of Club Future, a drug awareness and prevention program that will start in the fall.
The drug problem is an epidemic in our community. As a community, we must work together to combat it.
Anyone who is interested in learning more about Club Future or anyone who would like to partner with Circleville High School to help address this issue can contact Principal Chris Thornsley at (740) 474-4846 or at [email protected].
Ty Ankrom is the superintendent of the Pickaway County Educational Service Center. He can be reached at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal