Community Forum on Heroin Part 2 is Coming

The second part of our four-part series on Heroin and Opiate addiction will take place at the South Euclid Municipal Court on July 22, 2015 at 6:00pm.  Please read the following press release for more details.

Heroin Forum 2

South Euclid officials, police plan forum series to discuss heroin overdose and strategies

Counselors to be available for South Euclid residents and others needing treatment

SOUTH EUCLID, OH – Recent statistics regarding heroin are shocking and South Euclid is not exempt. According to city officials, heroin use and the crimes associated with it would make the life-threatening narcotic the city’s number one illegal drug problem if marijuana were to become legal.

Concerned Councilmembers and the Municipal Court are partnering with the city’s police, area drug addiction specialists and treatment providers to save lives, fight addiction and curb the growing number of crimes tied to addictive behavior. Area experts and representatives from law enforcement will present a 4-part series each lasting one hour throughout the summer to share information with and gain input from South Euclid residents, merchants and neighbors who want to help, or who know someone fighting addiction.

“We have arranged to provide treatment and recovery specialists available to meet privately in designated areas near the meeting room with people who show up needing help or know of anyone who needs help,” Judge Gayle Williams-Byers said.

The hour-long meetings are scheduled as follows:

June 24, 2015 at 6 p.m. “Heroin. Overview of the epidemic and identification of the problem and is there a problem in South Euclid?” Guest panelists: Executive Director Anita Bradley (Northern Ohio Recovery Agency) and Chief Operating Officer John Scalish of Community Assessment and Treatment Services.

July 22, 2015 at 6 p.m. “Recovery: A Practical Approach.” Guest speakers: Robert Erb, LSW and Valeria Harper of the ADAMHS Board. This session is designed to be interactive and encourages audience participation.

– August 26, 2015 at 6 p.m. “Accountability: South Euclid’s Response.” Panelists will include representatives from the Office of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor and South Euclid Police Department. State legislators have been contacted to provide additional information about House Bill 249, the “Good Samaritan Act,” which would exempt someone from drug charges if they called to report a friend’s drug overdose.

September 16, 2015 at 6 p.m. “Community Resources.” Panelists will include area treatment and recovery agencies who will share insights about the available treatment options in addition to the Suburban Drug Court Program where South Euclid Municipal Court participates. A sampling of invited agencies includes The Alcohol, Drug Addition & Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County, Northern Ohio Recovery Agency, Community Assessment & Treatment Services, Salvation Army, Murtis Taylor and Connections.

Councilman Ed Icove said the series was scheduled in response to concerns from South Euclid police that more could be done to deal with the narcotic drug’s impact on the city. Council was notified that only a marginal number of opiate related cases had been referred to the Municipal court which raised the need for this serious conversation.

In addition to this series, Councilman Marty Gelfand has decided to use the safety committee to investigate the concerns raised. Judge Williams-Byers hopes that ultimately a local legislative solution – perhaps similar to the pending “Good Samaritan Act” currently being discussed in Columbus by the State Legislators can be considered locally. There is nothing preventing council from passing its own version of the legislation as a guide to South Euclid police, the prosecutor and court.

“Ohioans struggling with addiction shouldn’t die because they’re with someone afraid to call EMS or police who’s concerned that they’ll be arrested,” Councilman Icove said. “Saving lives has to be more important than arrest statistics.”

Judge Williams-Byers is prepared to work with other city officials to ensure that the very real concerns related to heroin are addressed and that the city of South Euclid is acting proactively not reactively.

“We’re here for justice,” Williams-Byers said. “But we’re also here to help.”