Community leaders and students discuss how to fight the opioid epidemic

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Leading experts in the fight against the opioid crisis sat down with hundreds of students from the Dayton area, today.

Seventeen-year-old Miami Valley School senior Makul Sharma said the opioid crisis is especially personal for him.

“I lost a cousin who OD-ed about two, three years ago. And at the time, my parents didn’t tell me why he had died because they felt I wasn’t mature enough. I found out a year later and it had a profound effect on me.”

Makul joined community leaders like Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, former US Ambassador Bruce Heyman, and Ohio Rep Niraj Antani in leading a panel discussion on the opioid crisis.

Fellow panelist, Dr Luis Tellez said students should be aware addiction can affect anyone.

Ahead of the panel discussion, around 300 students from local schools in the area sat down for a private viewing of ‘American Divided – The Epidemic’ – A documentary on Dayton’s drug crisis.

Panelists say they’re hoping that by reaching out to teens, they’ll be able to stop the cycle of drug addition, before it begins.

Jan Lapore-Jentleson of East End Community Services said: “They have to have plans for their future, that they know will get derailed if they start engaging in risky behaviors.”

Former U.S. Ambassador to Canada and Miami School alumnus Bruce Hayman led the discussion.

“First you have to educate and once you educate, some people will be activated and hopefully some of these students will be activated,” Hayman said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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