Westerville North graduate Dave Sigal, founder of Loud Life Clothing, talks about his personal battle with drugs.
Juniors and seniors sat transfixed in the auditorium at Westerville South High School on Wednesday morning, September 14. They listened intently as Pickerington native Wayne Campbell, founder of an organization called “Tyler’s Light,” shared some startling statistics about opiate addiction in Ohio and the United States, including that:
- One in five Ohio students have tried a prescription drug that wasn’t theirs.
- In Ohio alone, at least eight people die from drug overdoses each day.
- Eighty percent of all prescription drugs in the world are consumed by people in America, which houses just five percent of the planet’s population.
- More people now die from drug overdoses than from car crashes.
- The United States is one of just three countries in the world that advertise drugs on television.
He also talked about the reasons why young people experiment with drugs for the first time. Peer pressure was first on the list, followed by escaping problems, the appeal of drugs, emotional issues, boredom and curiosity, and rebellion.
His plea to those in the audience who know someone who might have a problem with drug use was a simple one – Speak Up and Save a Life. Unfortunately, Campbell spoke from experience. He lost his own child, Tyler, to a heroin overdose in 2011. He described his son as a loving and kind young man who was dedicated to his family and friends; “a guy who always took care of everyone else.” Tyler was a 2007 graduate of Pickerington High School North where he excelled in academics, football and baseball. Tyler accomplished his boyhood dream of playing Division I football after earning a scholarship to the University of Akron. He followed up that dream by earning a starting spot his second year and lead the team in tackles vs. Wisconsin in the season opener. He became addicted to opioids after having shoulder surgery, and died at the age of 23.
In his memory, Tyler’s Light was formed to help others. This week, in fact, Ohio Lawmakers passed a Good Samaritan Law that gives immunity twice from arrest, charges and convictions to both a caller and the person overdosing on drugs. One of its most outspoken supporters was Campbell, who said there are a lot of times when people are together and one of them is overdosing, but no one calls for help out of fear of being prosecuted.
Also addressing the students was Westerville North graduate and recovering addict Dave Sigal, who founded faith-based Loud Life Clothing. He advised, “Don’t let drugs hold you back – be a leader, not a follower.”
This event was made possible because of sponsors including Walgreens and Central Ohio Primary Care.