The Union County Drug Free Coalition is leaning on law enforcement officials to help parents and educators learn how to spot and combat drug use.
The coalition, in conjunction with the Union County Sheriff's Office and North Union Local Schools, will present Operation Street Smart at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the North Union school board office, 12920 state Route 73 in Richwood.
Holly Zweizig, vice chairwoman of the coalition, said Operation Street Smart is a free program offered by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office. Sheriff's office personnel, including undercover and DARE officers, will conduct the presentation.
Shawn Sech, director of health education with the Union County Health Department, said the event is open to anyone in the community. The target audience is parents, caregivers and teachers and other professional staff who work with youth.
"This is the third time the Union County Drug Free Coalition has hosted such an event in partnership with the Union County Sheriff's Office," he said.
The three-hour presentation provides up-to-date information about narcotics including trends, terminology, paraphernalia and physiological effects.
"Attendees may be surprised to learn what drug trends are currently in our area, how people use those drugs and even more, and how they hide it," Zweizig said.
"It's very hands-on. They have a lot of paraphernalia that they pass around for everyone to see and identify," said Lt. Rob Bibart of the Union County Sheriff's Office.
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office created Operation Street Smart in July 2002 as a way to take community oriented policing to a new level, according to its website.
Bibart said the program is recognized locally as well as nationally and has received an award from the FBI.
The Union County Drug Free Coalition is a volunteer organization. In recent years, it has received financial support from Honda Marysville to fund prevention initiatives as well as grant funding from Cardinal Health and the Marysville school district.
The coalition's advisory board includes representatives from law enforcement, schools, parents, business, government and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.
"The board serves as the oversight body for the UCDFC to guide and direct operational and fiscal activities," Zweizig said. "The feedback from participants is always very positive."
North Union Local Schools is hosting the event and providing dinner for more than 40 people who made reservations before Dec. 30. Anyone who wants to attend the program can still register but will not receive a meal. Register by calling 740-943-2509 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about Operation Street Smart, go to http://sheriff. franklincountyohio.gov and choose Operation Street Smart - Drug Education under the Programs tab.
The Union County Drug Free Coalition will present Operation Street Smart at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the North Union school board office, 12920 state Route 73 in Richwood.