Drug abuse is a problem in the community that is hard to ignore. Everyday the Reflector reports multiple stories detailing arrests and convictions for drug use and drug trafficking.
Judges can implement all the rehabilitation programs they want while schools and businesses can all administer random drug tests that doesn't change the fact that it is easier to prevent drug abuse then it is to break the cycle of addiction after it has taken hold.
That's why the partnership between the city of Norwalk, the Huron County health department and Norwalk public and parochial schools is such an important step, though admittedly just a first step. Tackling the drug problem from all angles is the way to go, and the $16,000 LifeSkills Training program starts at the right place education.
The program will work to educate students throughout multiple grades. Other programs, such as DARE, work with students only during a specific grade. By getting students involved in the program starting in third grade and continuing throughout their education until ninth or 10th grade, the prevention program will be reinforced.
Even better, the new program will focus on teaching children how to say no to drugs. Few students lack the factual information about the potential harm of drug use, but as anyone who has ever watched an educational video knows, the often lame responses offered by anti-drug forces struggle to hold up to the power of peer pressure.
The city, schools and county all deserve credit for coming together. Each organization involved, be it the city, the police department, the schools or the health department, will use unique skills that will offer a comprehensive attempt to tackle a very serious problem.