Ice Storm Warning issued for entire Miami Valley

More prevention needed to curb opioid epidemic in Springfield

More prevention and community education is needed to curb the opioid epidemic that has led to more than 160 deaths in Clark County and Springfield in the last two years, local leaders told residents on Tuesday afternoon.

MORE: New program seeks to reach Clark County overdose patients, save lives

About 50 people attended a community forum about the local opioid epidemic held by the Clark County Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Support Coalition at the United Senior Services Center.

Multiple speakers spoke about the epidemic, including Springfield Fire/Rescue Division Chief Nick Heimlich; Springfield Police Division Chief Steve Moody; Dr. Greta Mayer of the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Clark, Greene and Madison Counties; Denise Estep of Clark County Department of Job and Family Services; Wendy Doolittle of McKinley Hall; and Melanie Silvus of the Families of Addicts support group.

A majority of the 89 suspected drug deaths in Clark County were caused by fentanyl, a synthetic drug that’s 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin, said Doolittle, the chief executive officer of the local treatment facility. About half of those deaths came from people who had never sought treatment, she said, which means more people are being introduced to these powerful drugs.

“It tells us there’s a lot of work to do on the prevention end,” she said.

In order to end the stigma of addiction, residents must understand how the brain works, she said. Addiction is a chronic brain disease, Doolittle said. She constantly hears that people choose to use drugs and that they should have greater willpower to stop, she said.

MORE: Drug epidemic wreaking havoc on Clark County businesses, economy

“If you are educated about the brain, you don’t hear those kinds of comments,” Doolittle said.

It takes about a year for the brain to heal enough for people to have the willpower to refuse drugs, Doolittle said, but there’s still the chance of relapse, she said.

No two stories are the same when it comes to the path to drug use or recovery, Doolittle said.

“These people are survivors,” she said. “The kind of traumas they’ve had and that we as a society failed to connect with in their youth. We’re missing the mark. The question for me is never ‘what’s wrong with you?’; it’s what happened to you?’ We know that something else is going on with the brain.”

The relapse rates for hypertension and asthma are 50 to 70 percent, Doolittle said — that’s higher than addiction at 40 to 60 percent.

RELATED: Demand for, debate over Narcan soars in Springfield

“People don’t want to talk about it,” Doolittle said.

The drug epidemic will have created about 800 to 1,000 additional runs for the fire division, Heimlich said.

As of Monday, the police division has responded to 690 mental health calls, which includes overdoses, this year — nearly double the 350 it responded to in 2016, Moody said.

DETAILS: S pringfield churches unite to open recovery house for addicts

He asked the community to help the police division take drugs off the streets, he said.

“We have to step up, shoulder-to-shoulder, with the families of those who are addicted and take on those traffickers and that takes courage,” Moody said.

While the community is working to provide more beds at treatment centers for detox, other organizations will help addicts find treatment in other areas of Ohio, Doolittle said. Families of Addicts will also help individuals find treatment centers both in Ohio and other states, if necessary.

“Where ever we can get a bed open, if we can get you detox and that’s part of the discharge plan, we’ll get you there,” she said.

Similar forums were held earlier this year for both local government leaders and business owners. Three more forums will be held for schools, the family community and medical personnel, she said.


Clark County schools make changes due to drug crisis, 1 stocks Narcan

Clark County leaders glad to hear Trump call drug crisis an emergency

Drug crisis traumatizing children in Clark County, state

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

School district will focus on supporting students after teen indicted on sex crime charges
School district will focus on supporting students after teen indicted on sex crime charges

The Logan County 15-year-old accused of assaulting a six-year-old on a Benjamin Logan school bus now faces additional charges after three other potential victims have been identified. Court documents show the teen was indicted Tuesday by a grand jury on two counts of rape and seven counts of gross sexual imposition. The indictment indicates three other...
5 tips for driving on icy roads
5 tips for driving on icy roads

An Ice Storm Warning has been issued for the entire Miami Valley. A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for the the following counties until noon: Mercer, Auglaize, Shelby, Logan, Darke, Miami, Champaign and Clark. With slick roads in parts of the region, it’s important to drive with caution if you hit ice. Here are five tips for driving...
Clark, Champaign County ready for winter weather
Clark, Champaign County ready for winter weather

Clark and Champaign County crews are preparing for the winter season with thousands of tons of salt. WHIO Storm Center 7 forecast called for a winter mix to fall Thursday. A Winter Weather Advisory was issued for the entire Miami Valley for Wednesday beginning at 10 p.m. and was expected to last until Thursday at 12 p.m. The forecasts calls for the...
Request to rename street after Medal of Honor recipient sparks closer look at policy
Request to rename street after Medal of Honor recipient sparks closer look at policy

A veteran and former police officer advocating that Middletown’s only Medal of Honor winner be recognized by naming a park or street named after him continues his efforts as the city considers its policy on such efforts. MORE: Middletown may rename street, park after city’s only Medal of Honor recipient Last month, David Shortt and Deb...
Thousands without power across the region due to icy conditions
Thousands without power across the region due to icy conditions

Thousands are without power across the region as freezing rain continues to hit the area.  Southern counties continue to show the highest outages by Duke Energy, with over 50,000 without power in Hamilton County.  Butler: 10,981 Warren: 5,610 Preble: 949 Montgomery: 11,447 Clinton: 489 Darke: 1,274 Greene: 228 Clark: 2,182 UPDATE...
More Stories