‘Operation Street Smart’ seminar set for Monday

WELLSVILLE — With the dangers surrounding the opioid epidemic having hit cities and villages throughout the country, local parents and concerned citizens will have a chance to learn what they should look for concerning drug activity.

The Wellsville School District is hosting “Operation Street Smart” — an adults-only seminar, starting 6 p.m. Monday in the high school auditeria.

Nancy Francis, a member of the Wellsville Board of Education, said the school district is taking a proactive approach in addressing the issue.

“Wellsville often gets a bad rap for being drug-infested,” Francis said. “We don’t see it so much in our schools. We don’t want to see it in our schools.”

The Franklin County Sheriff’s office started Operation Street Smart in 2002 — it’s a collaborative effort between the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) — the Sheriff’s office’s undercover narcotics branch — and D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education). In 15 years, the seminar has been held in various locations throughout the state, including Beaver Local High School, which hosted the seminar last year.

The mission of this initiative is to provide the latest and up-to-date narcotics information on trends, terminology, paraphernalia and physiological effects to people who work with today’s youth.

Because of its importance to society, the program has been in overwhelming demand to which Francis said the seminar was booked a year in advance. She said, however, that despite the long wait to bring it to the village, the program will provide an educational experience.

“It’s a very good program if you’ve never seen it,” Francis said. “It’ll open your eyes. It’s kind of scary.”

Several organizations, including police departments and mayors of Wellsville and East Liverpool, the St. Clair Township Police Department, Help Hotline, Family Recovery Center, the Columbiana County Mental Health Recovery Services board, the Columbiana County Educational Service Center, Community Action Agency, and the Columbiana County Career and Technical Center have been invited to attend the event.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to adults. Concessions (food and refreshments) will be available.