Boardman expands drug education program

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WYTV) – Drugs are having a terrible impact in Ohio including overdose deaths, stealing to buy more drugs, even trafficking and dealing them.

Every school teaches drug education. Now, Boardman schools have expanded their program, which teaches students the dangers of drugs.  This year, it involves more voices and seems to be effective.

“I can see the expression on their faces. They will come up after the presentation and ask questions. I actually learn things from them as well. Terms of things, the fads, the current trends,” said Boardman Resource Officer Phil Merlo.

The program started in October with alcohol and tobacco education, plus decision making. This week’s lesson is understanding the biggest drug problem in American history, who it is affecting and how.

“How they can be affected with their ability to learn and be in the right state of mind when they get here,” Merlo said.

Merlo spent 20 years on patrol and now he’s in the schools where he sees kids every day. He is part of a group providing help for students trying to handle some difficult situations.

Merlo points out to the students that he’s not using scare tactics; he’s presenting facts to the kids.

Students in fifth through eighth grade will get 10 weeks of lessons. Angela Sammartino with Meridian Services said the role of the program is to raise awareness and impart knowledge.

“Make kids aware of what is going on in the community and giving them the knowledge that they need to make good decisions,” Sammartino said.