PREBLE COUNTY — Several community leaders from SAPP (Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership) and the Mental Health & Recovery Board have met regularly to discuss how continuing to fight Ohio’s and Preble County’s opioid epidemic is a great thing to do for communities, the county, and the state.
Sharing the message of “Bringing Help. Bringing Hope. Thank You,” a week of appreciation held April 9-13 allowed local leaders to demonstrate their gratitude to all of the individuals on the front lines who are working to eradicate the scourge of opiates, and help individuals coping with addiction recovery every day.
Breakfast and thank-you gifts went out to all county school staffs during the week.
A Town Hall meeting was held Tuesday evening, April 10, where law enforcement officials updated those in attendance, and individuals in various stages of recovery told their stories and thanked law enforcement and recovery service staff.
”For the past four to five months we’ve seen a significant drop in heroin use,” Chief Deputy Mike Spitler said. “Now, is this cause for celebration or not? I’m going to say ‘not’ because the heroin users are switching over to methamphetamines, which was what was prevalent in the community before the heroin. I’m not saying we do not still have heroin in the community. We have run across it, but just not as much.”
“I am happy to report, as of today (April 10), and I see about every report that comes through the Sheriff’s office, I’ve seen one overdose involving heroin this year,” Spitler said. “Actually, two overdoses, same person, two separate days. I can’t say that about last year. Last year, I would say that we had on average a couple of overdoses a week and who knows what the hospitals dealt with that doesn’t get reported back to law enforcement.”
“We have not had death this year that I’m aware of from a heroin overdose,” he noted. “That’s very positive. I can’t say that about last year or the year before or the year before.”
“We still have a problem,” Spitler continued. “We still have to be involved with the community. You still have to report things to us. We need your help.”
Spitler explained, the PCSO gets several drug tips each week, although the public may not see the end result of an arrest for a while.
“I can assure you that anytime you call our agency, the Eaton Police Department or your local police department we take note of that,” he said. “Your calls are important to us. Don’t ever think we’re ignoring you, we don’t care and we’re not doing anything about it. We don’t catch the people by standing out in front of their houses. So you may not see a police car.”
A “thank you” breakfast and presentation was held on Friday, April 13, with shared stories of how people’s lives were changed thanks to the individuals who helped them, and how recovery was possible once given the opportunity for treatment and supports.
“We sponsored the Week of Appreciation because we see every day the difficulty and pain so many of our front-line fighters face as they work to help individuals in need. The positive impact that recovery from addiction can have on individuals, families, job growth, community safety, and overall economic development cannot be overstated,” Mental Health and Recovery Board Executive Director Amy Raynes. “Treatment works and people recover. Saving individuals and helping to open the door to recovery for those living in Preble County who need treatment services and supports is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. Our community will be stronger for it.”
The Preble County Mental Health & Recovery Board shared their gratitude to SAPP for planning the special week of appreciation.
”We would like to thank Stomp Addiction, Bullen Ultrasonics, Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities and Ohio Mental Health & Addiction Services for sponsoring this week’s activities,” Raynes added.
On Tuesday, April 17, a tree was planted and dedicated in Fort St. Clair Park in Eaton, to honor of everyone fighting the battle against drug addiction.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.