Getting Prepared: With help from NKU, Campbell County high schoolers learn about substance abuse

By Ryan Clark
NKU Marketing + Communications

Taylor McGrath knows how important it is learn about drugs and drug abuse education. A 17-year-old senior at Campbell County High School, she says she has friends who are dealing with substances and substance abuse.

“And sometimes, when they’re going through something, now I can know how to talk to them,” she says.

Taylor was one of about 70 high-schoolers to attend the 2015 Campbell County Youth Summit Tuesday at NKU. Sponsored by the Campbell County Drug Free Alliance and NKU, the program included students from Dayton High, Silver Grove High, and Campbell County High.

Allyn Reinecke, chairperson of the Campbell County Drug Free Alliance, says it’s especially important now for high school students to know the facts about the dangers they will face.

“Teens face these pressures everyday,” says Reinecke, a two-time graduate of NKU (’11 in Integrative Studies and ’13 in Master of Public Administration) who now works for the Campbell County Fiscal Court. “Whether we’re talking about alcohol, marijuana, even heroin – we’re practicing skills so they can become more resistent to those risky behaviors.”

Whether it was learning about heroin, which has become an increasingly significant problem in the region, or marijuana – “Which is becoming more important since Ohio is thinking about legalizing it,” Reinecke says – and finally, vaping and hookah, which have been discussed as an alternative to smoking, some of the students discovered a lot of information they did not know.

They were given a substance or issue (marijuana, alcohol, suicide, vaping and hookah, prescription medications, and heroin), then given a scenario (“peer pressure,” for instance, or “athletics”) before they broke out to film a one-minute public service announcement video about the topic.

The groups were paired with officials from NKU and the Campbell County Drug Free Alliance.

“The videos were really creative,” says Siobhan Ryan-Perry, NKU’s Alcohol and Drug Clinician. “I think they really listened to the point and really got some education. Hopefully they can pass that on to their friends.”

“I never really thought about how some people may feel scared to ask about this kind of information,” says 16-year-old Brandon Hart, a junior at Campbell County High School. “But some people may be scared that they might get in trouble with the police. We were taught how to handle these kinds of social situations.”

Reinecke was pleased with the turnout and performances.

“I think they learned a lot about stereotypes,” she says. “I think they learned a lot about things they’re going to need when they’re older.”

Visit the Campbell County Drug Free Alliance on Facebook at facebook.com/CCDFA or at ccdrugfreealliance.org.