The Franklin County Sheriff's Office will host a drug-awareness and education program for parents and others with ties to minors Saturday in Pickerington.
Operation Street Smart, an 11-year-old Franklin County Sheriff's Office program to provide up-to-date information about narcotics trends, terminology, paraphernalia, and physiological effects to individuals who deal with young people on a daily basis, will come to Marcus Pickerington Cinema Nov. 2.
The seminar is free and will run from 9 a.m. to noon.
The program will be geared toward parents, grandparents, teachers and others who have children or have connections to youths. It will feature presentations, videos and displays to help adults understand drug-related issues and identify signs of drug abuse.
"Our target audience is anyone with a nexus to children," said Franklin County Sheriff Lt. Shawn Bain.
"We will be discussing a lot about drug paraphernalia, signs and signals for parents to look for in terms of drug abuse, and we'll talk about drug concealment and some of the current popular drugs."
Funded by Ohio's share of federal High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas grants, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office Operation Street Smart program has sought since 2002 to prevent drug abuse through education.
Representatives of the program host free seminars in communities throughout central Ohio, primarily to alert adults and others to the "signs and signals" of substance abuse.
Although alcohol and marijuana use among teens and other youths remains an issue, Bain said, much of Operation Street Smart's current focus is on prescription medication and heroin abuse.
"Pickerington is just so close to Columbus," Bain said. "The drugs we're seeing in Columbus are the same as what we're seeing in Pickerington.
"Aside from alcohol and marijuana, the most drugs we're seeing a problem with are pharmaceuticals and heroin. We'll definitely be talking about those."
During an Oct. 16 meeting of Pickerington City Council's safety committee, Councilman Jeff Fix encouraged community members to attend the Nov. 2 seminar.
"It provides those people with an understanding of the current language and phrases that are used," he said. "They actually bring samples of all of the different kinds of drugs on the street and pass them around.
"If you've never seen black tar heroin before, you will at this meeting."
Fix said the Nov. 2 program is "a tremendous educational opportunity, I couldn't more strongly recommend it.
"I went to one in Lancaster last year," he added. "It really opens your eyes -- how they hide it, how they move it around. It makes you aware of how prevalent it is in our county."
According to fix, heroin is a small part of the presentation.
Other topics covered include "bath salts," pills and marijuana.
"They show you what it looks like, tell you what the signs (of abuse) are," he said. "It's pretty intense, extremely informative and highly recommended."