Tyler’s Light is an organization created by Tyler Campbell’s parents to promote awareness to students about the dangers of opioid abuse.
Campbell, like many young overdose victims, had much to live for, but not enough strength to beat his addiction, said his father, Wayne Campbell. His son died of an overdose in 2011.
As a freshman football player at the University of Akron, Tyler Campbell played played full time as a sophomore. He had shoulder surgery in the off-season and was prescribed Vicodin for pain.
His family finally sent him to rehab, only to come face-to-face with a tragedy. The young man overdosed and died in his room the day after he came home.
At St. Paul, Wayne Campbell not only told the story of his family’s fight with Tyler’s addiction, but also presented stories and information of other families that had to deal with this tragedy. In September, Campbell gave similar presentations at the Norwalk middle and high schools plus EHOVE Career Center.
Statistics and graphs showing both the severity of the drug-addiction problem in Ohio and the chemistry that shows the similarity between prescription drugs and addictive, illegal narcotics.
“What stuck with me were the pictures of how similar heroin is to painkillers. It showed me that we have to be careful even with things that you might get from a doctor,” freshman Ryan Shumway said.
Campbell spoke with the audience with how naïve he was when his son was first prescribed opioids. He cautioned everyone in attendance to be aware of prescribed painkillers.
His goal in these talks isn’t the same “don’t do drugs” message one normally hears, but a conversation with the students about the realities of growing up with the pressures and temptation set before them in their high school years.
Campbell pointed out that not all addicts have a stereotypical look. Many of the stories he shared were about students who, including that of his own son, were popular, successful students who got sucked in to addiction. Campbell said there were many people around them who could have stepped forward. It is from these stories that Tyler’s Light takes it theme, “Speak up! Save a Life.”
“Mr. Campbell’s presentation really made me reflect,” freshman Ashantae Clinton said. “This convinced me that I need to speak up if I see someone struggling with addiction. I am not going to be afraid coming forward because I know this could save someone’s life.”
The St. Paul students were left with the message that it is everybody’s responsibility to be aware of the risks people take when dealing with opioids — anyone can fall victim to addiction and that if you see someone who is in trouble, you need to “speak up” and “save a life.”