Ohio Launches Anti-Drug Campaign Aimed At Tackling Growing Heroin Problem

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Sam Buehler knows firsthand the drug epidemic that is sweeping across Ohio.  The 22-year-old’s drug odyssey includes three trips to the ER, two arrests and multiple trips in and out of rehab.

"I truly believe in some cases it's easier to get heroin than beer," said Buehler.  "For me, it's a battle every day. I don't think that it ever completely goes away but it does get easier."

Buehler, now two years clean, was front and center at Upper Arlington High School as Ohio's first lady Karen Kasich announced a new statewide anti-drug program.

"If you start talking to your teenagers about drug abuse they are 50 percent less likely to start using," said Kasich.

The Start Talking initiative - backed by a million dollars in government funding - encourages schools, parents and kids to talk to about the dangers of drugs.

Danielle Smoot describes her 16-year-old son Cole as happy and active.  One methadone pill, she says, took his life three years ago.

"With Cole it was just that one pill," said Smoot.  "Year three is worse than day one, very much worse.  It's a daily pain that doesn't go away."

Advocates believe to prevent that pain an effective anti-drug message that young people will hear must be developed.

"It's sweeping across our entire culture but more specifically in Columbus," said Buehler.  "It's an epidemic, and I think we can impact it more strongly if we connect to the youth."

Attorney General Mike DeWine say heroin kills at least 11 Ohioans a week.  There were 600 heroin overdose deaths in 2012, that's double from 2010.