Wednesday, September 19, 2018 Medina 76°

Local Medina County News

Declines seen in county youths' drug use


MEDINA — Brian Nowak, director of the Medina County Drug Abuse Commission, touts local drug-prevention efforts as helping to curb drug use among youths.

At Tuesday’s Medina County’s commissioners, Nowak cited a survey that showed a decline in drug and alcohol use among local youth.

“Drug prevention is an ongoing process, taking place every day in our schools,” he said. “Thanks to funding from the anti-drug levy and our school districts, we are able to provide school-based drug prevention services to our youth.”

The survey conducted by Living Well Medina County, a United Way-backed collaborative effort, showed that based on 2012 figures for sixth- through 12th-graders, tobacco use was at 26 percent, alcohol use was 48 percent and marijuana use for a month was 12 percent.

By 2017, tobacco use dropped to 13 percent, alcohol use to 32 percent and marijuana use for a month to 10 percent.

“That is very, very telling,” Nowak said.

He said the numbers also were positive for ninth- through 12th-graders.

“Youth surveyed in Medina County in grades nine through 12 were considerably lower than youths surveyed in the state and across the country,” Nowak said.

He thanked school administrators, teachers, prevention specialists, DARE officers, peer leaders and parents for talking to students about drugs.

“I think these numbers show that all of these efforts have really made a difference,” Nowak said.

In keeping with the theme of drug prevention, county commissioners Tuesday proclaimed Oct. 22-28 as Red Ribbon Celebration Week.

The goal of Red Ribbon week is to involve families, schools, businesses, churches, law enforcement agencies and service organizations in all aspects of the campaign about the dangers of illegal drug use.

“It’s become one of the oldest and largest drug prevention campaigns in the country,” Nowak said. “In Medina County, it’s been celebrated every October.”

Nowak said the campaign started in 1985 after a DEA agent was killed in Mexico. People in his hometown in California started to wear red ribbons and pledged to live drug-free lives.

Sales tax distribution

Distributions from the half-percent sales tax for the third quarter for area schools were:

  • Black River, $70,311;
  • Brunswick, $903,155;
  • Buckeye, $274,202;
  • Cloverleaf, $290,563;
  • Highland, $390,793;
  • Medina County Career Center, $112,097;
  • Medina Board of Developmental Disabilities, $6,028;
  • Medina, $845,103;
  • Norwayne, $8,664;
  • Rittman, $2,709;
  • Wadsworth, $596,885.

In 2007, county voters approved a 0.5 percent sales tax increase with revenue earmarked specifically for permanent improvements for schools, which can include buildings, textbooks and buses.

Other news

  • Laura Toth, director of the Office for Older Adults, said her office is running out of money for meal and transportation programs.
    She said her office had a budget of $40,000 for meals, and has used 91 percent of those funds. Toth has requested $10,000 from commissioners to cover a projected budget deficit.
    She also requested about $10,000 to $12,000 for transportation for the seniors, noting grant funding was unexpectedly cut 2.5 percent for 2017.
    “We have more folks we are providing funds for,” she said. “In addition, our costs keep going up.”
    Grants covered 113 meals per day in 2016. Grants in 2017 have covered 106 meals per day.
    “You think, ‘Oh, seven meals a day, that’s not a big deal,’” she told commissioners. “Seven meals a day times a whole year with over 200 serving days, are quite a bit of meals.”
    No action was taken Tuesday.
  • Dana Kocis, a Medina County Economic Development Corp. board member, was appointed to the Medina County Port Authority. Her term will end Dec. 31, 2018.
  • Commissioners terminated the county’s $30,000 contract with the Joint Office of Economic Development, saying it no longer benefited the county.
    The JOED was formed in 1996 to create a public-private partnership that would address economic issues on a regional level. Medina County joined in 2005. Other counties include Columbiana, Mahoning, Portage, Richland, Stark, Summit and Trumbull.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or

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