Our children are our most valuable asset, and should be treated accordingly. Our families are not immune to the substance abuse epidemic that has taken hold in this great state. Start Talking! is Governor John Kasich and First Lady Karen Kasich's effort to protect our children against this epidemic and prevent future drug abuse. As your state representative, and as a father and grandfather, I support this initiative and effort to encourage the citizens and parents statewide to get involved.

Start Talking! is a much needed effort to bring attention to the crisis we have with drug abuse. Our youth are being robbed of their future and their health while the epidemic destroys families. The epidemic is not limited to illegal substances, but also the abuse of prescription medication.

Start Talking! is comprised of four different programs that address various aspects of children's lives. For example, Parents360 Rx educates parents on substance abuse and how to speak with their children about peer pressure and how to avoid drug use. Know! TEACHable Moments targets teachers because they have a significant impact on students' lives and offers them drug prevention tips to utilize in the classroom. 5 Minutes for Life gives student athletes the opportunity to speak with Ohio State Troopers and the Ohio National Guard for five minutes before or after practice about making healthy life choices. Lastly, Building Youth Resiliency is a community-based program that works to develop our youth's resistance to drug use. These four programs work simultaneously to bring about the most effective change in our youth's lives.

We need to enlist all citizens of Ohio, parents, educators and peers; to bond together to fight against this epidemic of addiction. We must work as one under this new initiative to combat the substance abuse and addiction problem that many of our people, young and old, suffer from. However, we cannot only talk about this issue; we need to take action in order to truly see change in our society. I advocate strongly for Start Talking! and believe youth drug prevention is an important step towards a better Ohio.

Start Talking! and start making a difference.

Rep. Landis may be reached by calling 614-466-8035, e-mailingRep98@ohiohouse.gov or writing to State Representative Al Landis, 77 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215.