It only takes once

Guest speakers reiterate the dangers of opiates and the ongoing epidemic.


Mr. Andy Brenner

The assembly took place on Wednesday, October 26th.

Special guest speakers Joseph Pinjuh, Assistant U.S. Attorney,  Keith Martin, Drug Enforcement Administration and parent Fred DiMarco presented information to Medina High School students regarding opiates.

The speakers came with the goal of preventing one more death from drug use. Each presenter focused on how drug use can quickly escalate and the deaths that can be prevented.

“We’re hoping to get the awareness out and prevent kids from using drugs,” Martin said. We’ve got a major crisis in the U.S. right now with heroin overdoses and if we can just reach one child it’s a victory, but we hope to reach more than that today.”

Pinjuh emphasized the 2,500 students they were going to be talking to and agreed that even reaching out to one student is a victory. 

“I always look at it as a success if one kid walks out of this assembly thinking ‘I won’t take a prescription pill, I won’t smoke a joint, I don’t want to use heroin, I don’t want to use fentanyl’. That’s a complete victory,” said Pinjuh.

Martin continued saying by the end of this year alone, there will be over 500 fatalities in Cuyahoga County due to opiate overdoses.

Each speaker stated the harms and personal side effects of the drug. Pinjuh also asked questions and got responses from the audience about their thoughts on drug dealers. He stated a drug dealer could be anyone, and what they look like is usually not the best indicator.

All speakers were invited by the school, and have gone to schools around Northeast Ohio such as Aurora and Twinsburg.

Both Martin and Pinjuh said they had great responses with schools reaching out about the ongoing war on drugs. According to the speakers, the first step to battling the war on drugs is acknowledgment.