Crawford County Opiates Task Force receives grant to reduce addiction problem in the area
By SARAH EINSELEN
Twenty-five to 30 government officials, representatives from nonprofit organizations and recovering opiate addicts gathered Thursday night at the Bucyrus public library to plan how to solve Crawford County’s opiate addiction problem. They are acting as part of the Crawford County Opiate Task Force, organized by the Crawford-Marion Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services. Thursday’s meeting was the second Crawford County task force meeting. The task force aims to reduce opiate addiction in the county, including heroin addiction.
Dr. Stephen Novack, Galion city health commissioner, said Galion alone sees six to seven people a year die from drug overdoses. He suspected that two Galion deaths in the past week were likely drug-related, though complete autopsies and reports will not be available for at least six months.
Novack had told the Galion city council at its March 8 meeting that drug addiction was the single most important issue facing the city now, and Galion police chief Brian Saterfield backed him up then, saying that Crawford County had the third highest per capita drug overdose death rate in Ohio.
Joe, a recovering addict active in area recovery and rehabilitation efforts, said at the task force meeting that the need was immediate, especially among youngsters.
“We see people in their late teens that are desperate and dying,” he said. He wished to remain anonymous because of his association with the recovery community.
Jody Demo-Hodgins, executive director of Crawford-Marion ADAMH, co-chairs the task force with Mary Jo Carle to deal with the problem. Demo-Hodgins is also a member of the statewide opiate task force. She obtained a $12,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, to be split between Crawford and Marion counties. The two counties also expect to receive at least another $12,000 from the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which is drawing on $1 million set aside from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program funds.
The funds from the Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services are earmarked for raising awareness, educating the populace about drug addiction, partnering with local law enforcement and supporting the families of drug addicts, so the task force will not be able to use the funds for treatment of drug addicts.
Demo-Hodgins will complete a work plan based on the decisions made at the two task force meetings so far and will submit it to ODADAS by June 30.
The task force will hold its third meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 14, in the conference room of the Bucyrus public library. For more information call the Bucyrus office of the Crawford-Marion Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services at 419–562-7288.