You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Heroin epidemic topic of school summit

New Carlisle mom hopes son’s overdose will raise awareness.


Cole Smoot was a 16-year-old high school honor student and wrestler who died of an overdose in 2011 when he took one tablet of prescription methadone at Tecumseh High School in New Carlisle.

Marin Riggs slipped into heroin addiction as a teen, went to rehab twice, relapsed twice and died of a heroin overdose at age 20 in 2012 in suburban Columbus.

Their grieving mothers — Danielle Smoot and Heidi Riggs — are talking about their family tragedies in the hope that more parents won’t be standing in their shoes tomorrow.

“There is nothing worse than waking up every day as a mother without her child,” Smoot told a group of law enforcement and education officials Tuesday at a heroin summit at Worthington Kilbourne High School near Columbus.

Roughly 36 of the state’s highest performing school districts, including Kettering, sent representatives to the summit to gain insight on strategies for combating the heroin epidemic in their communities.

Smoot outlined a program named Cole’s Warriors after her son. The group installed drug drop boxes at police and sheriff’s stations, started a mobile phone app that allows kids to send anonymous tips to the Clark County Sheriff’s Department, and began a voluntary, random drug testing program that is used in nine schools in Clark County.

Attorney General Mike DeWine told the group that buying heroin is as cheap and easy has having a pizza delivered.

“It could be anybody’s family,” he said. “If any community thinks they don’t have this problem, they’re wrong.”

Gov. John Kasich said school teachers can have enormous influence over students’ lives and may be able to steer them away from drug abuse. “Remember: the Lord put you in these positions,” he said. “If you are standing up for the life a child, you will be honored forever.”

After cracking down on “pill mills” that over-prescribed opiates, the Kasich administration has since seen a spike in heroin use and overdoses. Kasich earlier this year began public awareness programs that include “Five Minutes for Life” and “Start Talking” to send anti-drug messages to school age children.

But Democrats criticized Kasich and DeWine’s efforts as “anemic” and called on the Republicans to put up more money for local services that address drug addiction problems.

”It’s hypocritical for the Governor to speak at a summit on heroin abuse when for years he cut millions to police and social services, ignoring a problem that his own Department of Health said was foreseeable,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, who is Kasich’s likely Democratic opponent in the governor’s race this fall.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Springfield asks voters for tax increase to fix roads, fight drugs
Springfield asks voters for tax increase to fix roads, fight drugs

Springfield city leaders want to increase local income taxes to maintain services, fix roads and hire more police officers, but opponents believe it will make the city less attractive for prospective residents and businesses. Residents will vote May 2 whether to raise the city’s income tax for 5½ years from 2 percent to 2.4 percent. &ldquo...
Springfield won’t follow Dayton, plans to keep red light cameras off
Springfield won’t follow Dayton, plans to keep red light cameras off

The city of Springfield won’t be resuming its red light camera program any time soon, despite Dayton’s proposal to turn its red-light and speed-detection cameras back on later this month to improve safety at intersections. Springfield leaders have said they won’t turn the city’s cameras back on until the issue is settled statewide...
Jon Husted takes steps toward run for Ohio governor
Jon Husted takes steps toward run for Ohio governor

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s as-yet-unannounced bid for governor moved forward today with the announcement that his office’s press secretary would join the Husted for Ohio campaign. Josh Eck said his last day in the office was today and he will become a spokesman for the campaign. “I have been a fan of Jon Husted’s since...
Supreme Court orders refunds for people whose criminal convictions are overturned
Supreme Court orders refunds for people whose criminal convictions are overturned

People who are freed from prison when their convictions are reversed deserve a refund of what they paid in fees, court costs and restitution, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.  "They are entitled to be presumed innocent" once their convictions are thrown out, said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the state "has zero claim"...
Turner, state lawmakers upset state declined money for Wright-Patt
Turner, state lawmakers upset state declined money for Wright-Patt

Area lawmakers are upset Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was shut out of a share of $5 million in state aid vowed changes Thursday to a state panel that decided to split the money for projects at two Ohio Air National Guard bases. U.S. Rep. Mike Turner and state Reps. Niraj Antani and Rick Perales spoke at a Thursday press conference about their frustrations...
More Stories