Town Hall Meeting Addresses Drug Problem And Progress


A community came out in force Tuesday night against an epidemic claiming lives and destroying families.

Around 300 people took part in a town hall meeting on heroin in Marion, 10tv's Glenn McEntyre reported.

The drug's hold on Marion County has been in the spotlight in recent months. There were 16 overdose deaths last year attributed to opiates.

"There are now more people dying from drug overdoses in Ohio than are dying from automobile accidents." said Orman Hall, Director of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services.  "The majority of those deaths are not in urban centers. They are in communities like Marion and Galion and Delaware. So this is largely a rural and suburban problem."

The audience heard from a recovering addict who detailed his spiral into addiction: from alcohol, to pot, to prescription painkillers.
"It just gets too expensive. And heroin is everywhere." said Eric, who did not give his last name. "I was instantly hooked. I thought I'd found the love of my life, and it was in a drug."
They heard advice from a mother who learned the hard way.
"I would strongly suggest to you parents to test your children. From pre-teens on up if you suspect anything. The tests don't lie, but your children will," said Mary Jean Hensley, mother of a recovering addict.
Marion Police Lieutenant Chris Adkins said authorities are stepping up anti-drug efforts with added manpower.
"In two months we've put together 42 cases for drug trafficking in Marion County. That's in two months. 38 possession cases. 142 grams of heroin has been seized." said Lieutenant Adkins.
Among those listening closely from the audience was Carol Kinney, a mother who doesn't know how to help her addicted daughter.
"At night when I hear sirens going I'll wake up - are they gonna find my daughter dead? You know? I don't know."
She says she left the meeting Tuesday night more hopeful than when she came in.
"There is help out there, that I can get help, that I can help her."

Anyone aware of drug activity in Marion can leave an anonymous tip at 740-375-TIPS.

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