COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Ohio's governor says that although the state has made progress in fighting prescription drug abuse, it remains a huge problem.

Gov. John Kasich wants parents and other adults to start talking to children about the dangers of drugs.

"We know that if you talk to your kids about drugs there's a 50 percent likelihood that they won't use them," he said.

On Wednesday, he promoted a new state initiative that is focused on getting the drug-free message to middle school and high school students. He was joined by his wife, the attorney general and other state leaders to discuss the effort at two southwest Ohio schools.

"The whole purpose of this is to save lives. It's just to save lives," he told a crowd at a school near Cincinnati.

Kasich said the state can't run away from the drug problem and neither can parents and adults.

"We have to look at it. We have to face it," he said.

The drug-prevention push comes as the state cracks down on prescription drug abuse. Ohio also faces an increasing problem of heroin in communities.

In 2011, drug overdoses were the leading cause of accidental deaths in the state, with one Ohioan dying from a drug overdose every five hours. More information about Start Talking is available at: www.StartTalking.Ohio.gov.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story)