New program launches to keep kids off drugs in Gahanna

GAHANNA, OH (WCMH) – As the drug epidemic continues to sweep across our state, the efforts to educate young people about the dangers of drugs are kicking into high gear.

Seventh-grade students in the Gahanna School District are the first to take the new drug prevention class called Project Alert.

“I think it’s good that we’re getting them at this age, because we’re at that point in time where we have peer pressure,” says 13-year-old Casey Rankin.

She and her other classmates are in the 9-week class that’s being taught by a police officer.

“We actually get into teaching about marijuana and it’s effects and what happens to you,” says Officer Todd Huffman. “Hard drugs, we’re talking cocaine, heroin, meth, alcohol, tobacco.”

Each student gets an information magazine to take home and read through with their parents.

“I thought I knew a lot about drugs until I read this magazine,” says Police Chief Dennis Murphy. “We’d like to prevent the lifestyle.”

He says it’s important to start educating students at a young age.

“The fact that we’re in this grade here in Middle School…this is the right place to be,” says Chief Murphy.

“We want to give you the information. I want to give you the education,” says Officer Huffman as he addresses his class. “What you guys do with it is up to you.”

The City of Gahanna and the police department are working together with Mifflin Township and the Ohio Addiction Recovery Center for this joint initiative called “Gahanna Cares”.

They hope to eventually have the programming in more grade levels across the school district.

If you or someone you know needs treatment for drug abuse, you can call this toll-free hotline: 1-866-581-1871 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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