Students celebrated for creating ideas to fight opioid crisis

At the start of the school year, we joined with the Ohio Department Education to ask students to put their knowledge and creativity to work on Ohio’s opioid abuse crisis. On Thursday, more than 100 students from across Ohio came to Columbus to show off their ideas.

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Solutions included a programmable pill dispenser to limit opioid doses, an app to alert friends and families of those fighting abuse when certain areas are visited and more. One middle school team designed an anti-drug use social media campaign and spent the semester publishing these messages.

Each participating school used a design challenge model. In this method, school leaders help students create new ideas while tying the work to the knowledge and skills students need to learn.

The students were joined by a series of state leaders. Ohio State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria spoke, as did Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Battelle, the science and technology organization that manages our network, hosted the event. From Battelle, President and CEO Jeff Wadsworth spoke along with Dr. Aimee Kennedy and Scott Novak, a national expert on opioid addiction. All six speakers thanked students for their dedication and innovation.

ABC 6 Columbus filmed this report.

You can also read the official press release here.

What did the students themselves think? We caught up with two student solvers to find out.

“There were guard rails (on what we could do for this project),” said Brandon Sheline from Reynoldsburg (HS)2 Academy, “but they were a lot further out than what a normal one would be. (Our teachers said) ‘This is what you have to research, but make something positive out of it.’ That’s where we got really connected to it.”

“I think it’s kind of awesome that everybody in our community across Ohio are coming together to try and solve it,” said Lacy Johnson, also from (HS)2 Academy. “And it’s kind of neat to see how many different ways that we all think to approach it. Some are similar, and some are completely different… It’s a lot of great minds thinking together.”

A lot of great minds thinking together. We couldn’t have said it better.

Congratulations to all these students and the other 1,100 students who participated in schools across the state.

Participating schools

  • Akron North High School
  • Bio-Med Science Academy
  • Dayton Regional STEM School
  • Global Impact STEM Academy
  • Metro Early College High School
  • Metro Institute of Technology
  • Northwestern High School
  • Reynoldsburg High School- eSTEM Academy
  • Reynoldsburg High School- (HS)2 Academy
  • Ridgeview STEM Jr. High
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