Opioid related drug overdoses are on the rise at both the national and local levels. In response to this growing crisis, area organizations have come together to increase education efforts through a Drug Prevention Seminar. The three-day event features two of the country’s leading drug prevention experts, former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Special Agent Robert Stutman and former treatment court judge and anti-drug advocate Jodi Debbrecht Switalski of The Stutman Switalski Group.

The event is comprised of targeted educational sessions and will take place March 26-28 with closed sessions for students, administrators, law enforcement officials and medical professionals and an evening parent/community forum on Tuesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Marietta High School Auditorium. The evening forum is free and open to the public though student attendance is not recommended.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioids were involved in more than 40,000 deaths in 2016 alone with reported fatal overdoses in Ohio increasing significantly from 2015 to 2016. Four overdoses, one of which was fatal, were reported in a 24-hour period in Marietta at the end of last month according to a WTAP news report.

“The Mid-Ohio Valley has not been sheltered from the national drug epidemic,” said Major Troy Hawkins with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. “When the Sheriff’s Department was approached by family practice specialist Dr. Michael Brockett, who had attended a previous seminar by The Stutman Switalski Group, we knew it would be a huge benefit to bring this event to the area.”

“Funding for the Drug Prevention Seminar was a collaborative effort between several different organizations,” said Heather Allender, President & CEO of the Marietta Community Foundation. “As the community Foundation, we recognize that we are always stronger when we combine resources and work together to meet vital community needs.”

The Stutman Switalski Group shares leading research and provides proven solutions, interactive presentations as well as an area assessment with suggestions for continuing action.

Sponsors for the Drug Prevention Seminar include:

  • The Marietta Community Foundation’s Bill Curran Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Fund
  • The Memorial Health Foundation
  • The Washington County Chapter of the Ohio Academy of Family Physicians
  • The Washington County Sheriff’s Office
  • The Marietta Chamber of Commerce and Safety Council
  • Oriana House, Inc.
  • The Southeastern Ohio Oil and Gas Association.