Lewis Academy scholar films drug addiction panel for awareness project
March 09, 2017
Rocky River High School hosted a town hall meeting on Monday, during which regional leaders and experts discussed the recent epidemic of drug overdoses related to opioids – namely, heroin and fentanyl.
On hand to film the meeting was Alex Lenhart, a Rocky River High School senior and member of this year’s class of the Robert L. Lewis Academy of Scholars at Cuyahoga Community College. The Robert L. Lewis Academy of Scholars allows honors-level students with a passion for social justice to pursue their ambitions through projects centered on community leadership and activism.
As part of his project, Lenhart wanted to film the meeting’s panel discussion as a way of promoting awareness of drug addiction, and its effects on individuals, families and communities.
“I want to … encourage more discussion of the addiction problem in the communities,” Lenhart said to Cleveland.com. “My goal is to encourage development of some common-sense first steps to combat the problem and to advocate these suggestions to legislators.”
According to statistics shared by Rocky River school board president Jon Fancher, Cuyahoga County experienced 52 opioid-related deaths last August, a single-month record for the county. Thus far in 2017, a total of 46 county deaths in January have been attributed to opioid overdoses, though that number could rise as toxicology reports are finalized. For February, officials have currently attributed 14 countywide deaths to suspected opioid overdoses.
The meeting’s discussion panel included Dr. Christina Delos Reyes, an addiction psychiatrist with University Hospitals; Rocky River police chief Kelly Stillman; Jeff Capretto, a special agent with the Westshore Enforcement Bureau; and Allisyn Leppla with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.