Parents of New Albany-Plain Local School District students will have the opportunity to learn more about opiate abuse during a Nix Opiates event from 6 to 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at New Albany Middle School, 6600 E. Dublin-Granville Road.

Parents of New Albany-Plain Local School District students will have the opportunity to learn more about opiate abuse during a Nix Opiates event from 6 to 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at New Albany Middle School, 6600 E. Dublin-Granville Road.

The event is being presented by New Albany High School in partnership with the Ohio Chapter of American College of Emergency Physicians.

LeNora Angles, dean of students at New Albany High School, said while opiate use is becoming more rampant within communities, including suburbs, the issue also aligns with the high school's goal to improve school climate and students' social and emotional health.

Angles said the district also is looking into assessing high school students to get data about drug and alcohol use.

Dr. Ryan Squier with Mid-Ohio Emergency Services will be the event speaker. He said New Albany-Plain Local will be the second district to which Ohio ACEP brings the Nix Opiates presentation.

The first was the Olentangy Local School District.

Squier said he presented to the district's principals as well as Orange and Liberty high schools. A presentation at Olentangy High School is scheduled in February. Eventually all Ohio ACEP members can bring the presentation to their respective school districts, Squier said.

"This is a drug that spares no ethnic group," Squier said. "It spares no age group."

The pathway to opiate abuse and addiction is easy, Squier said.

"Once it takes hold of people, it's so hard for them to get out of that cycle of abuse and addiction," he said.

The idea for the Nix Opiates presentation was formed about a year and a half ago, Squier said.

Since then, Ohio ACEP's national chapter has funded planning and the presentation, which focuses on what opiates do in someone's body.

Talking points include how the brain's biochemistry makes the body dependent upon opiates and where the potential for abuse lies.

Many children and teenagers who begin abusing opiates start with prescription medicine that is often provided by a family member or friend, Squier said.

Ohio is one of the states hardest hit by the opiate epidemic, Squier said, with about 5 percent of the nation's annual overdoses coming from the state.

In 2015, Ohio had 3,050 drug-overdose deaths, with a vast majority of those arising from opiate abuse, he said.

Research shows the transition from middle to high school is when many students are exposed to various types of drugs and alcohol, Angles said.

The district's goal is to help students avoid drug use.

New Albany High School also participates in Tyler's Light, a drug prevention program that arose from a Pickerington High School North graduate's heroin overdose.

The high school is considering holding a student-centered Nix Opiates presentation closer to spring, and the drug and alcohol assessment will help officials determine what students' needs are, she said.

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