Prevent, Promote, and Protect your Health with the Lake County General Health District
(440) 350-2543
5966 Heisley Rd
Mentor, Ohio 44060
April 05, 2018


April 5, 2018

PRESS RELEASE                                                                                                                                CONTACT:  Haley Russo (440) 350-2844

April 4, 2018                                                                                                                                         LAKE COUNTY GENERAL HEALTH DISTRICT


In order to help prevent prescription opioid misuse, the Lake County General Health District, in collaboration with the Ohio State Extension Office, successfully launched Project OPIATE (Opiate Prevention Initiative-Action Through Education), an innovative program that utilizes youth leaders to educate their school-aged peers regarding the risks of prescription opioid misuse. After attending “Lead & Seed”, a two-day training program provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), six adult facilitators and eighteen youth leaders recruited from both Willoughby-Eastlake (North and South) High School and Mentor High School hosted “pHARMING Effects”, an interactive peer-to-peer educational presentation outlining the dangers of prescription opioid misuse. These presentations occurred at Mentor High School on March 8, 2018, and at Willoughby South on March 9, 2018. A two-day “pHARMING Effects” presentation is also scheduled at Eastlake North High School on April 11 and 12, 2018. As a follow-up to these presentations, the project team will revisit the students in attendance throughout the remainder of the semester, utilizing Generation Rx, an educational prescription drug website, to revisit prescription opioid misuse topics.

Unintentional deaths attributed to prescription opioid misuse remain a considerable issue in the United States1, and the misuse of prescription opioids often leads to riskier drug behavior and initiation2, as evident from the current opioid epidemic sweeping through communities across the country3. Opioids, a class of drugs that include the prescription medications oxycodone, codeine, and morphine, as well as the illegal drugs heroin and fentanyl, are highly addictive, and recovery from opioid addiction is a lifelong effort. Despite these concerns, upwards of 45 percent of high school students have been exposed to prescription opioid misuse4. “We have to look at every resource and solution available to us in order to reduce the number of lives lost to opiate misuse,” stated Ron Graham, Lake County General Health District Health Commissioner.

Project OPIATE was developed by Dr. Andrew Wapner, Director of the Center for Public Health Practice at the Ohio State University’s College of Public Health. By connecting local public health departments and the Ohio State Extension Offices, efforts to fight the opioid epidemic have improved. In 2014, collaboration began between Health Commissioner Graham and Dr. Wapner to create optimal, evidence-based practices to benefit Lake County residents, and these efforts continue today.

For more information about this project, please contact to Haley Russo at (440) 350-2844, or


Marianne Rusnak
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