Heroin epidemic must be stopped with education before high school, speakers said
Education is the answer to the heroin addiction epidemic and it must begin with children of a very young age, said Mahoning County Juvenile Court Judge Theresa Dellick.
Children are experimenting with alcohol and marijuana in middle school. They are self-medicating to escape their reality of not fitting in or being bullied, said the judge, speaking Tuesday at the Public Square sponsored by “The Buckeye Review” and Mount Gilead Baptist Church, where the event was held.
The disease of alcohol and drug addiction doesn’t just afflict the poor, she said.
“It can reach anyone, anywhere, at any moment. Drugs don’t discriminate,” Judge Dellick said.
Also on the program, billed as “Heroin and Our Children,” was Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge John Durkin, creator of the Mahoning County Drug Court.
“We’ve all heard of the heroin epidemic, and it truly is. Who can’t identify someone in their family, a friend, a neighbor, who is affected?” Judge Durkin asked.
“If we wait until kids are in high school to talk to them about the dangers of addiction, it’s too late," he said.
Ohio is in the top five states in the United States in heroin overdose deaths, said Dr. M. Mike McNair, publisher of “The Buckeye Review” and moderator of the event.
Durkin also noted that 70 percent of felons in the drug court are white and 30 percent are black.
Read more about the situation and the event in Wednesday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.