COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The opiate epidemic is claiming lives across the nation and here in central Ohio at an alarming rate.

A local ER physician, Dr. Ryan Squier is spreading awareness it’s dangers with a new program called “NIX Opiates”. It’s sponsored by the Ohio Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians (Ohio ACEP).

The program had it’s first event at Olentangy Orange High School Thursday night for parents and students.

“A lot of the attitude in every community is, ‘That’s not my kid. That’s not going on here,’ and it’s kind of a turning a blind eye to what is really happening,” says Dr. Squier.

He says seeing a teen overdosing at the hospital he works at isn’t uncommon.

“People are having strokes in their 20’s because of this drugs use and the biggest thing is we’re seeing the addiction and that people will throw away everything for this drug,” says Dr. Squier.

Haileigh Darnell is a sophomore at Delaware Christian High School. She came to the event on Thursday with her mom and grandma.

“It tears them apart, tears their family apart, siblings and it’s just a sad moment for everyone,” she says.

At 16-years-old she’s already seeing the devastating effect of opiates.

“One of my friends went to the ER for an overdose,” she says.

That’s why her mother Ashley Darnell wanted her to come to this meeting.

“I think people are naïve in our area because we live in a well-to-do area and I just feel like people need to be more aware of it,” she says.

It’s something educators say they have to address.

“Instead of being reactive to this, we have chosen at Orange High School to be proactive and to make sure once again we’re educating our students on the choices and challenges they may face in life and one of them may be drug use,” says principal Dr. Kathy McFarland.

Dr. Squier will be addressing all students during the school-day next Wednesday at Orange H.S. The program will be coming to more schools in the future.

If you are interested in bringing NIX Opiates to your school, district, or student organization, contact:


3510 Snouffer Rd, Suite 100

Columbus, OH 43235

Ohio’s Information and Treatment Referral Line

1-877-275-6364; M-F, 8am-5pm