Addiction: Heroin & Pills: Bowling Green Town Forum

Addiction: Heroin & Pills: Bowling Green Town Forum


  WBGU-TV’s new series:
Addiction: Heroin and Pills. Addiction to prescription
opiates and heroin is at an
all-time high. On average, 5 people a day are dieing in
Ohio. It’s our goal to raise awareness about this
epidemic by creating programs
that educate and inform. Our objective is to
help Ohio get back on track. In this program, we will take a
look at a town hall event that
took place in Bowling Green, Ohio where a
diverse panel of community
members discuss the opiate and heroin epidemic
and how it is effecting many
sectors of our community. Put together by the Wood County
opiate task force, we present part 2 of our series.   Alright, maybe we can hear me a little
better if we do it this way. Just to kind of give everyone
an idea of who I am, a few of
you probably recognize me, maybe recognize
the voice. My name is Norm Van Ness. I am the chief
meteorologist at channel 24 up
in Toledo. For those of you who don’t know, I am a NW
Ohio native. Born and raised in the sticks in
Sandusky County. Right down the
road I graduated from Bowling Green
State University, lived in Wood
county and in Bowling Green, while I
was going to Bowling Green
State University so it was an honor for me when
I was asked by Ally Watkins to
come and kind of moderate this event and help
carry it through the evening
that I had to say yes. This is a
problem that’s getting more personal I think for everyone
that’s in this room has
experienced something either on the using end of it,
maybe on the medical end of it, maybe on the law
side of this issue that we’re
here to talk about tonight, so it is something
very important I think for
everyone here and it’s really good to see this
big of a turn out. It’s
surprising, and like Kyle said,
it’s kind of sad that we have to
have this type of an event, but
it’s also very encouraging to see that so many
people are concerned about it
and want to be a part of trying to
find a solution, not only for
Bowling Green but for Wood County at large.
Before we kind of really get
everything started here tonight, I wanna kind of
introduce everyone that’s on
the panel here in a more formal fashion to get things
started. She is part of Ohio
Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Heroin Unit.
Heidi travels all over the
state bringing awareness about heroin and
sharing her resources with the
goal of trying to significantly reduce
drug abuse and help Ohio
families. Her passion and expertise comes
from, unfortunately, a very
personal tragedy as her daughter, Marin, died of
a heroin overdose in 2012 when she was just 20 years
old. Heidi now uses that most painful experience of her life
to help fuel her positive and
powerful drive to make real changes in
Ohio one person and one
community at a time. So, we appreciate her for being
here tonight. Quick round of
applause for Heidi for being here and participating
tonight. Next up is going to be Andrea
Boxill, she is the Deputy Director of the Governor’s
Cabinet on Opiate Action Team. Next as we get closer to the podium,
is Doctor Mahjabeen Islam. She
is a board certified by the American
Board of Family Medicine and
American Board of Addiction Medicine. She has
worked in all aspects of
addiction medicine, from impatient
treatment, methadone
maintenance, intensive outpatient, and office based
opioid treatments. She was
medical director for the Tenneson
Center, the drug rehab unit at
St. Vincent and St. Charles Hospital, as well as
medical director of Compass and Sassi. She currently practices
medicine, assisted treatment,
at her office in Perrysburg, so we appreciate
her being here tonight as well. Coming to this side of the podium we have Jordan
Fleitz. Jordan is going to
share some of his personal experiences and his
story and his journey on his road to recovery so we
appreciate him being here in
this form for us tonight as well. Now to the guy some of you probably recognize
more so than some of the others
fortunately and maybe unfortunately in some
cases. We have Tom Sanderson. Tom is the Fire
Chief for the City of Bowling
Green Fire Division. Tom has been a
paramedic for 23 years and a
firefighter for 30 years. He is pleased to
bring his pre-hospital care
provider perspective to the panel tonight and talk
about the fire department’s
role in using naloxone. So he is gonna
be here for us tonight. Welcome to Tom, thank you. And finally, Tony Hetrick. Major Hetrick is currently
serving as the Deputy Chief at
the Bowling Green Police
Division here in Ohio. He’s a graduate
of the FBI national academy,
northwestern school of police staff and
command, Ohio certified law
enforcement executive, and has an associate degree in
criminal justice from the
community college of the Air Force. Major Hetrick
has been with BGPD for 18 years and he served as
everything from a patrol
officer to detective, a drill sergeant, and a
lieutenant prior to his current
assignment as the deputy chief so we welcome Tony here
tonight as well. Before we get started, we do
have a video presentation that we’re gonna do. It’s just a few
minutes long. This is actually the video is called “Marin’s
Story” and it is the story of Heidi’s daughter Marin. She had a smile that would
light up a room. She had a passion for
basketball. Then she picked up golf and she
was a natural with that. She really enjoyed the game. The one thing that caught us
truly off guard going towards the end is we didn’t realize
how badly she felt about herself. Look at the
pictures. Why would we think she had a self esteem
problem? But the fact of the matter is, that was one of the
major engines that drove her to areas where she really didn’t need to go, didn’t have to go. My spoons started to disappear. And I’m not talking 1 or 2.
It’s be like, okay I have like 3 spoons left. And I remember I had 150 some dollars in my wallet.
I had when I went to pay that I had 75 dollars.   And of course she started crying, and “Yes, I came down.” “Yes, I took your credit card.
Yes, I used it.”     And remember going to court the
next day, and you know,
beautiful Marin, and them bringing her
in, shackles on her ankles in these prison uniforms
and I’m sitting there thinking to myself, “How
did we get here?” I was just numb.   She needed the money to pay
some people back, and she needed the money to trade
the gas for the heroin. If you would have
asked us: what do you know about heroin?
I would have said, “A street drug, a junkies
drug.” You know, not something that you would hear
about on tv. It’s not something that you
would find in a community like Pickerington or any suburb.   I mean, I every day was that “We have to keep her alive, we
have to save her.” If she said
she was going to a meeting, I would follow ahead
of time and sit in the parking
lot and see her walk in because I could breath
again, because she showed up, we got one more day,
she’s sober one more day.   She never even had a car but
she still found a way to get it
because they would just bring it to the
house when we were sleeping.   I remember walking into the
apartment, and I’ve never heard
such a horrendous scream in all my
life. When I went up, and walked through that
bathroom door and saw him there
holding my daughter, um, I knew immediately she had
passed away.   I know she really wanted to make it, and I know she doesn’t want to see
any other family go through
what we have gone through and I know
she wants me to talk about it. And I found her journal that I bought for her. In her journal,
she wrote a goodbye letter to
heroin. “Dear Heroin, Before I met you I was full of
life. At least from what I thought. But then problems started
coming my way that gave me the excuse to meet you. It was like
love at first sight. Not only did you do things for
me, but boy, did I do things for you! I lied to my
family, friends, and even more importantly, I
lied to myself. I would steal and cheat for
you! I would risk me freedom and my life for
you! But our relationship went to hell when
the first and last time you
really almost took me away forever. You have
me for 7 minutes. I won this battle and I will never have to suffer
again! Sincerely, your worst enemy, Marin Briggs. And she still went back to it. Went still because of the grip
it had on her. Do I miss her every day? Oh, sure. We can’t bring her back, and we
can’t go back. But if we can help other people
by telling our story, then
that’s what we have to do. ♪                         Obviously, the video we just watched, very
emotional very touching, but again, very familiar to maybe a
lot of you that are sitting
here tonight. I want to go ahead and kind of
introduce our first panel
member. What we’re gonna do is
kind of go down the line. Each one’s gonna come
up, make a few statements, and
then once we get done with that, then we’ll
be branching out more so into
some questions and some open discussion here tonight. So
everyone please welcome down
here to the right Heidi Riggs.   Good evening. I’d like to thank the Wood
County Opiate Task Force for having me. I’d also like to
recognize one of my colleagues that’s with me tonight, NW
regional director for the
Attorney General’s office Krystal Lutman. If you
need anything, this is who you
need to call up here. As I traveled throughout the
state, it’s unfortunate that I also get to meet a lot
of moms that too have lost a child, and I would like to
recognize one tonight, Yolanda Patton. If you could
stand. I just wanna tell her how sorry
I am, and I’m so glad you’re
here and the courage it takes to be here. She just recently
lost her son, and so I just wanna recognize her. Thank you. On behalf of the Attorney
General, thank you for having
me here tonight. I stand before you, not only as
an employee of the Attorney
General’s office, but as a mother of a beautiful
daughter who was addicted to heroin. Marin lost
her battle on January 28th 2012. Two weeks after her
20th birthday. We came forward in November of 2013 with the Attorney
General’s office to share our
story publicly for the first time,
and we also produced the video
which has been viewed over 100,000 times on Youtube.
Our purpose was to address the sigma of
this disease. That the face of heroin can be anyone.
The disease doesn’t discriminate and it can happen
to any family, and it doesn’t only happen to families
who are uninvolved in their
child’s life. We were your typical middle
class family. My husband coached Marin’s
basketball team, and I was an elected official in our
community. We never missed her
sporting events, and she could tell us anything.
We had a wonderful relationship. And Marin had her whole life
ahead of her. Did she push boundaries? Like any teenager,
sure she did. But she was always accountable for her actions.
She was beautiful, smart, everything that you could ask
for in a daughter. It was one bad decision that changed
the course of her life. Marin didn’t chose to be a heroin
addict, no one does. Until the disease happens to
them. As you could see in the video, a lot of the pictures
that I used, Marin was actively
using at that time, and we had no
idea. So, if you look at those
pictures, who would think behind that
beautiful smile was a heroin
addict. Or who would have
thought that her beautiful hair was
used to hide the track marks in her neck? And
who would have thought that Marin would have traded
gasoline for heroin? But she
did. And our lives began to spiral,
and every day was, “we have to keep
her alive.” However the disease ultimately took her
life, so as a result of our tragedy, I’ve decided to make
this my life journey: Sharing
our story. Bringing awareness to the
stigma of this disease. Because as parents, we were
devastated. How did this happen
to our family? We didn’t talk about it
with our immediate family because of the shame we felt
that somehow it was our fault. A moral failing. But
I know now that this was wrong. Addiction is a
chronic relapsing brain disease and if
by telling our story we can save one life and prevent
another family from living with the pain that we live with
every day that I’m honoring my daughter’s memory. I joined the
office April 28th of this year, and
ironically it’s where I began my career in public service in
1996, and I’m honored and humbled to have this
opportunity to be a voice for
all the families that are dealing with this disease.
Heroin is readily available in every suburb, in
every city, and every state and can be had for as little as
10 dollars. It’s an insidious and enticing drug that effects
the otherwise intelligent
children who sit at your family table.
It carries very little stigma with young people, and dealers
deliver it. It’s as easy as
ordering a pizza. Mexican cartels
channel heroin through decentralized distribution
networks, and they communicate
with their dealers through disposable cell
phones and gaming systems. The problem we have is a lot of
communities don’t think they
have a problem. But the latest numbers tell us
a different story. Our latest statistics in Ohio
tell us that 18 people a week are dieing from heroin, and the
numbers that I listed are based
directly as heroin listed as
the cause of death. If you add other drugs
and indirect deaths, we’re probably looking closer
to 30. And how did we get there? Well the transition
to heroin came from the
prescription opiates, and what we know is
the average use in Ohio for prescription drugs
is 14. And 70 percent of the
prescription drugs are received from a friend, a loved
one, it effects all ages races, income levels. It’s s
suburban epidemic. Even more startling is the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported
that the death toll from drugs
now claims 1 life every 14 minutes. That’s 100 people a day, and
that’s 36,000 people a year, and we’re
worried about Ebola. More Americans die now from drug overdose than
they do in car accidents. I’d like to talk about what our
office has done because we are making great strides. We
have a lot of work to do, and I’m honored to be with
everyone here tonight that’s
working very hard at this problem. We’ve
revoked the license of 53 doctors and 13
pharmacists. We’ve closed all
the pill mills in Scioto County
which is where a lot of this began in Ohio. We’ve convicted
15 people who were the improper source of
prescribing and dispensing the
drugs. And as of May of 2014, we’ve
seized more than 1.83 million dollars
in pills, and we provided 57 prescription
drug boxes. In November of 2013, the Attorney General
created the heroin unit, and there’s two areas. We
have the law enforcement side,
which draws from existing resources including
our Bureau of Criminal
Investigation our state crime lab, which
helps local law enforcement all across Ohio with all sorts
of criminal investigations. We now know testing for heroin
is one out of ever three cases
that we do in our chemistry lab
at BCI today. To date, the heroin case
load continues to rise. As of June 30th, we’ve
had over 3,000 cases and we’re on track to be higher
than last year. In addition, we utilize staff
resources from Ohio Organized
Crime along with our special
prosecution section to help our
local county prosecutors try these heroin
cases in court. And the second are is our drug abuse awareness
staff, which consists of
myself, Jennifer Binger and Daniel
Smoot, and we go all over the state helping
communities put plans together
and connecting them with resources inside and
outside our office to get the
word out. The Attorney General has
conducted 13 drug community forums across the
state, and to date, the
consensus is it’s a holistic solution
involving the entire community. This isn’t just a law
enforcement problem. Yes,
they’re part of the solution, but every
community needs to own it. Our families, schools, faith
community, our court system, government leaders. We have to
fight this at a grassroot level. We’ve also created training
courses through Ohio peace
officer training Academy entitled The
Heroin Epidemic, and we train 500 officers throughout
the state free of charge. We also began our Narcan or
Noloxin training which is the drug
which I’m sure most of you are
familiar with that reverses the effects of an
opiate overdose. For any officers or law
enforcement departments that choose to arm their
officers with it, we do provide
the training on how to get it and how to
dispense it. We’ve also provided 160,000 over the counter prescription drug abuse
pamphlets, and we’ve awarded 10.7 million dollars to
law enforcement agencies on the D.A.R.E. program which has
completely been revamped to include that they must teach
on prescription drug abuse prevention as part of the
curriculum. We’ve also partnered with the
Ohio Department of Health Drug
Free Alliance with the 67 prescription drug drop
boxes, and to date, we’ve collected 8.4 tons, which
is 16,000 pounds of unneeded
prescription medications. And I love to talk about this
because I have to pleasure of
working with Danielle Smoot. I don’t know if
you’ve heard of her, but her organization is called Cole’s
Warriors. Her son was a wrestler. Bright,
beautiful, just like all the kids are that this
happens to. And his friend told him that, you
know, “As wrestlers we
shouldn’t feel pain.” and his grandfather had passed
away from cancer, and so he brought some pills to school
with the substitute teacher
sitting in the back of the classroom. He laid
them on the table, and several
boys, including Cole, took them. Later that afternoon
when he got home, Cole noticed that he had pin
point pupils, he was slurring his words, he
wasn’t acting right, and she asked him what he had done. And
of course, as any child would,
he knew he was in trouble and he
denied it. And she was in
nursing school so she pressed the fact
and he finally told her and
gave her the other pill that he didn’t take. On
the way to the ER she contacted the other family
members whose sons had taken
those pills. And they took him to the ER.
They watched him and released
him. She took him home and thought
it was good that he sleep it
off, and the next day when she went to take
him, he was gone. One pill, one
time. because the ER didn’t
understand how methadone metabolizes in a 16 year old.
So I can stand here and talk about heroin, but prescription
pills are a huge part so if you know anyone that
has them, or you’re holding
onto them, get rid of them. Because it’s a huge
problem. Most recently though, the good
news is you used to have to go to the
drug drop boxes, whether
they’re at the sheriff’s
Department or wherever they were placed,
but the DEA has recently, as of
October 9th, authorized manufactures
and distributors, which is your
retail pharmacies, that they
can now collect controlled pharmaceutical drugs
through mailbox programs and receptacles. So you’ll
start to see this in your CVS’,
your Walgreens, which makes it a lot
easier now. You go get a prescription, and you drop off
your old ones. Currently there’s 13 bills pending. We’ve done a
lot of work at the state house
level The specific bills I’d like to
mention is House Bill 508 and 529 which
the Attorney General is supporting. The first bill, 508 boosts the criminal penalties
for drug dealers found guilty of contributing to overdose
deaths. This bill would expand the definition of murder to
include defendants who play a
role in an overdose death through
trafficking. And 529 includes the offense of
corrupting another with drugs knowingly, or furnishing
administering to a pregnant
woman, and inducing or causing a pregnant
woman to use a controlled substance. And most recently,
our newest initiative is we’ve formed an
overdose prevention taskforce,
and it’s a 15 member task, and our goal is
basically to come up with a protocol. We
currently don’t have one in
Ohio for heroin related fatalities and
for reporting them in
real-time. The Attorney General believes
it’s critical that law
enforcement policy makers and members of
the public have up to date access to date regarding drug
overdose trends so that we can address these problems as
they’re happening. We need not
only to be timely but also have uniform
data as a state-wide definition for overdose deaths.
The Attorney General is very passionate about
everything that we can do in our office to help through
law enforcement education
training and other resources to address
this epidemic. And in closing, I’d like to say
that not only by working
together will we beat this epidemic. We
can arrest, sentence, legislate, or treat
our way out of it. All of these strategies are
part of the answer. Thank you.     Heidi thank you very much. Very
much appreciate it. Some good comments there. Really
much appreciate you being here
for us today. And we appreciate the entire,
really the Attorney General’s
office is very aggressive right now,
and that aggression is appreciated very much. Next
up on our list here is going to be Andrea Boxill. Andrea is
part of the Governor’s Cabinet
on Opiate Action Team, and she’s
gonna make a few comments for
us as well. Please welcome her. So, when I was hired, three months ago by the Governor’s
Office, I was in shock. I was in shock because the work
that I had formerly done was
working in the criminal justice system
was specialized docket
programs. And what I did was I ran a court for the mentally
ill, I ran a court for drug
addiction, I ran a court for women who were victims of human
trafficking, as well as
veterans. Within the first 6 months of
running our long-term drug
court, the prosecutor came to me and said, “You have to do
something different for
heroin.” And seeing that in the disease and treatment
world, we treat the disease of addiction. We don’t treat a
drug, we treat a disease. And I said, “Well you’ve gotta
convince me that there’s a
need.” And they handed me a
stack of data that said, “Here’s the
need. Here’s how many overdoses we’re dealing with
every day.” And so as I started
dissecting it was almost like a no brainer
in this regard: back in 2012, now Heidi just gave
you data from the most recent
2014. So you should understand the
progression. In 2012, we had 5 Ohioans die every day from
overdose. What was the number you gave today? 17. That’s tripled, right? So and
then we had 10 people a day who were arrested for
possession of heroin, not just
pills. The number of Ohioans
discharged from the hospital
for opiate abuse, just discharged
from the hospital per day, was
62. I would be really curious about
what that number is today. People were admitted to the
Public Behavioral Healthcare
System, that’s all your
treatment agencies, right? Every day, 72
people who were addicted to opiates, including
pharmaceutical heroin as well as street heroin. New Ohioans
receive opiates in very high doses.
Every day, 893 people. It is so hard for
me to hold this so I gotta move
a little bit. Cause it frustrates the heck
out of me, and I have to watch
my language in my new job, but it frustrates the heck
out of me because there’s a
couple of things that we need to be very honest about
as a society. Heroin is nothing new to this
society. What’s new is the community that it’s
effecting, you see, because in
the 70s, when it was affecting the
African-American community, and
we were losing 200 people per year, it was no big deal.
But in 2012 we lost 1,914 people now we have a problem. It’s not
in the inner city, it’s in the
suburbs, now we have a problem, right? The truth is
the problem was always there. It
was there back in the days when
we had the opiate railroads. Right? When we had to get them
high enough to continue
building our railroads, and they brought
it with them, so is it really
bad? We’re not really exploiting them, are we? And
then we start giving it to the housewives for their hysteria.
Some would call it trauma. Some would call it
post-partum depression, but we started treating them, we said
well we can’t do that anymore.
And so then we had the French connection. We talk
about the Mexican cartel. Let
me tell you, the original cartel was through the
French connection and that was
the mafia, and that came through New York Now you’re getting it
through the Southern route.
There is a business to be had in addiction for a
drug dealer. And if I’m a predator, which
most drug dealers are, see this
brother sitting here nodding his head, I know
exactly where to go to the miserable children in the
suburbs who are disconnected
from their families and totally connected to
electronics. You are my
customer. As a matter of fact, I’m gonna
deliver it to you. I’ll wait
for your parents to leave, you just hit me up on
my cell, it’s a burner. I’m going to deliver it to you,
when I’m done, I’m out. And then when you come to me and you
say, “You know what, I don’t
want to use anymore.” This is
how skilled these businesspeople
are. Don’t just consider them
drug dealers, this is business. I’m going to give you one more
pill, or one more balloon, and I’m gonna tell you, “Don’t
worry about it, you don’t even
have to pay me. I know you out
of it.” What’s that gonna do? What’s
that gonna do? You comin’ back for more. And I
just gave you that last dose for free. I can convince you to
steal. To sell your body. When I
started the catch docket, the average age of the women
who were being trafficked was 44. Most of them had 2 prison
stints. The primary drug of
abuse was crack, alcohol, heroin. Last
year, 80 percent of our clients,
their primary drug of abuse was
what? I can’t even hear you. Y’all
act like this is…I’m not
talking ’bout peanut butter and jelly I’m talkin’ ’bout
bangin’ dope. You are losing
people. And you’re whispering, and I,
as a trafficker, rely on your whisper. I want you to
keep it secret, I want you yo be ashamed, I don’t
want you to talk to your kids
about it, I need to make money off of
you. Cause you’ve got money to spare, right? So when it
finally comes full-circle, and now we’re dealing with a
different drug dealer, and I
know the doctor is gonna talk about
it, but I’m gonna call it for
what it’s worth. When you have a house bill that’s
coming up to prosecute a drug
dealer, 508, guess who else is your primary
drug dealer, your doctor. She’s gonna teach you what that
means today. In our country, we don’t want
to feel pain. “I don’t want to hurt. My
niece, 18 years old, got her wisdom teeth pulled
out. Guess how many pills of oxy she got? What? 30. Do you know when I got my
teeth pulled they gave me an ibuprofen, a
coke, and a smile and said,
“Have a good day”? Right? But we don’t wanna feel. Not only do we not wanna feel
pain, we don’t wanna feel good,
we just want to be numb. And we prey upon
that. And so here we have a doctor,
who in all good faith, doesn’t want
you to deal with pain because they’re also measured by your
pain for their job. So when my mother, may she rest
in peace, and you know she
just, we just had a service for her
yesterday. My mother was
diagnosed with cancer lung cancer. She also had it on
her spine as well as her skull. And the first question they
asked her, they do a little questionnaire. They asked her a
questionnaire. How do we deal with your pain. And she,
in all honesty, look at said, “I shouldn’t have any?” Because
when you ask a question like that, it kind of implies
that you shouldn’t have it, or
if you do have it, it should be minimal. No, you have cancer. It is eating away at you, it
should hurt. You break your leg, it should hurt. That’s not
a chronic disease. The body knows how to heal,
there are certainly other
medications that can be used, other
treatment modalities that can
be used. But quickly, if my job is on the line, and my million
dollar education, and it all comes down to you the
patient, in acute care, in
acute crisis, saying, “I thought my pain was
really managed.” Then I’m gonna
make sure you don’t feel pain. Right? So, the next thing that we have to do is
understand the definition so we’ve go the drug dealer
who’s waiting for you to get
addicted to the pill because we know the street value. I’m
breaking this down so that
family members know. I can sell a perc for 80, a
percocet pill. But I can take that 80 dollars
and get me 8 balloons of heroin which could potentially keep me
high, somebody say it, 8
balloons of heroin. What’d you say? Well for some people it’s a
day. And for some people it’s a
couple of days, and for some people it’s
a week. Or for some, they’ll
bang it all at once. And they’re not coming back,
right? So, there’s profit on either side. You have
to deal with the rug dealer,
you also have to deal with if
you have medications in your house,
get rid of them. Get rid of them the right way.
You can go to any pharmacy now
based on the DEA and the Federal Law, get rid of
them. Don’t see it as a loss of money. So aside from
dealing with the factor of where we’re getting it, from
pill to heroin, we also have to
deal with the fact that this is a chronic
progressive disease that can ultimately lead to
death. We certainly have examples as with Cole,
Danielle’s son, there was no
chronic progression about it. You’re taking a
chance. You take one pill, you’re taking a chance,
you bang dope one time, you’re
taking a chance. You don’t know
what it’s been cut with, you don’t know the
purity level of it, therefore
you can die. That’s the honest truth. What
we’re doing at the Department of Mental Health and
Addiction Services is what we
recognize is the human condition is not just
about the disease of addiction or the disease of
depression, right? or the disease of mental health. We
have to look at this
holistically. I found it interesting, and if
there’s any medical students in
here I would implore you to look into the overwhelming
number of the people in the
drug court once they got sober, the
majority were diagnosed with
OCD, PTSD (post-traumatic stress
disorder), or major depressive disorder recurrent. But because
we in this country disdain
mental illness the way that we do, some people
would rather be a dope addict than to be diagnosed with a
mental illness because you
gonna judge me harshly. I’m diagnosed with depression. Does it invalidate anything
that I’ve said to you today?
Does it make you more skeptical. I have tattoos
all up and down my arm, do you see me differently? We have to
be honest about how we view this disease. We see it as a
community, as a culture, separate from us. And when we
do that, we’re pushing these
young people further into isolation and insulation,
and guess what the disease of addiction needs? “I need you to
be isolated. I need you to feel ashamed. I need you to feel
guilty.” And I absolutely give families permission, when
I did direct service. I would
say, “If your family is part of the problem, get the
hell away from them. Because
some families need you to be sick so
that no one looks at what is really going on within
the family system. What we’re doing on the state
level through the Governor’s
Cabinet on Opiate Action Team the doctor just gave me a great
suggestion and I’m going back
with it, we need doctors on
this team. Because they know the
history and they know how to
treat. The first thing that we’re
doing is we’re looking at the
mom’s project. You talked about years ago, the only
disease we’ve ever titled a
child after was a crack baby. Well we have
children who are being born with opiates in their system. We
know we can treat them we know that they’re not doomed
for life, but we need to be
able to identify them and get
them treatment and not criminalize
the disease. If a mother comes
forward and says, “I am sick, I don’t
want to go through the
withdrawal, I don’t want my child to be
born this way” The last thing
you want is for children’s
services to come in and swoop that child
away. Because what’s the
likelihood of her recovery? Very slim. Then you’ve also
given trauma to the child, and
what did I already say? Many of these individuals are
already dealing with trauma, so
we need to treat holistically. That’s our mom’s
project. It’s a way to identify
standards of care to have the best outcome for
the mother as well as the
child. The next program we have is called
the Addiction Treatment Pilot
Program. This was money that
came down from the state, the
senate, through the Governor’s
office as well, and what we’re
doing is again, we need to pilot
programs in criminal justice
we’re not gonna arrest our way out of
it, but we have a captive
audience. And the idea is we need to provide
treatment options and if we can
get it to them while they’re
incarcerated, they’re less
likely the national statistic is, most
overdoses will occur within 72
hours of being discharged from jail. So if I
can get you the treatment while
you’re in jail, especially medicated
assisted treatment, then what’s the likelihood that
we can keep you alive? And
you’re gonna hear a debate between doctors,
you’re gonna hear doctors.
You’re gonna hear some say, ” I
don’t like suboxone,
buponorophene, or vivitrol or dadada.” Can I be
real with you? I haven’t had
any data that says somebody is overdosed on suboxone. Does
it have a street value?
Absolutely. One of the clever marketing
things is to go ahead and build
a divide between medications, right, to tell you
this medication is better than
this one. The bottom line is,
people need choice. Not every person
can do vivitrol, not every
person can to suboxone. The other program we
have is project Dawn which is directly related to
naloxone/narcan. All of these words, by the way,
sound very similar so research
when you’re looking into it. Most important of
narcan naloxone, and we’re dispensing
these in hospitals as well, is to make sure that you still
call 9-11 after you dispense it. What
we’ve found are those who
actually still die as a result of the overdose did not
call 9-11 after dispensing it it prevent the overdose from
happening. Remember, here’s the brain, here’s the drug, the
drug is in there. What the
Narcan’s gonna do is get in
there and break it up for 7 minutes so that overdose can absolutely still
occur. So it’s important to
call. That’s project Dawn. We have prescriber education
committee which I’m gonna lobby
that Dr. Islam gets on which helps us develop
prescribing guidelines because
the bottom- line is, if these doctors don’t
figure it out with all this
education, then the governor gets to
figure it out in the form of
making a state rule. So, we can ask we can give information, but at
the end of the day, if it can’t
be done, we’re talking about the lives of our
brothers, our sisters, our
daughters, our sons, our mothers, and our fathers
because this isn’t just
effecting young people. The last one is our
intra-diction group through the
G Co, law enforcement, which, it’s
very difficult, and I know I’m probably gonna scare
the heck outta the officers in
the room, but I’m gonna be honest with you. You know the
songs “The Snitches get
Stitches?” Stitch me up, I’m telling. If
you know if you know of a drug dealer of a doctor who’s not
prescribing the way that
they’re supposed to, you have
to share that information. Ma…Oh my
gosh, did you see that? Heidi introduced you to your
are director. You contact the AG’s office on any doctor
who you suspect is handing this
out like candy which is essentially what
it comes down to, they’re going
to investigate it. If you have a drug dealer or a
trap house that’s in your neighborhood, call your local
law enforcement. You have the right to be safe,
your children have the right to
be safe, but this is not a 1 brush stroke that just does
one thing. There have to be 6, 7, 20 different intervention
points, and what we’ve done
today is just giving you a few, but I
think Doctor’s probably going
to share so much more
information for you to prevent yourself or
your family from getting to this point. I thank you for you
time. Thank you.   That demonstrates her passion
for this. Just had a rough week, a
rough week for her family, and she’s still here
tonight, so thank you very much
for that. We appreciate it
Andrea. Dr. Islam is going to be net.
She’s gonna talk a little bit
more about the medical side of this, and it
sound like you got a new job
here tonight all of a sudden,
didn’t ya? Get recruited? That’s good.
Welcome Dr. Islam.   Thank you so much. I’m here
today to explain, give the medical
perspective on addiction, on opiate addiction and also
primarily to give you hope, and to make you
understand that this is…to
take away the stigma of addiction.
I’ve practiced addiction medicine for over 20 years and
it was never this bad. Now we have a situation where I go
every day to a room, to an exam room,
and find someone originally it was, about a year
ago, 3 times a week, but now it’s essentially every day that
someone is sitting sobbing or stunned that they lost
someone to a heroin overdose. It’s extremely rampant and I think it’s a fabulous
turn out today, and I think by the effect of propagation of
information, it is incumbent on us to tell
our friends and our family that this is a disease. This is
not something, like someone has high blood pressure another
one has diabetes. This
particular person has addiction, and I
cannot begin to appreciate or salute enough the
courage of parents, being a mother, my
daughters are here as well, they are close to the age
of Marin, and of what parents go through when
they lose loved ones. So this is rightly called an
epidemic and it is extremely, extremely urgent
that we address it, and
primarily if you go away today with one
message, that message is that it is a disease. Please understand
that it’s a disease. It took us of many, many decades, it took
celebrities to understand that depression is a disease.
Otherwise it was something to
be ashamed of, so it was something
that couldn’t be treated. You
needed celebrities like Marie Osmond
and Tipper Gore to tell people that this was a
disease. So, similarly, addiction is a disease and I’ll
try to explain it with my
slides.   What do I…? Would you advance
it for me? So I’m gonna go from the bad news to the good news,
and my slides background will
change I tried. So the bad news is:
daily overdose deaths and the figures are so dynamic and
so changing that what I have here,
at least 4 opioid overdose deaths every day, is an old
figure. As you can tell, from what we heard just now,
that is dated. So from 2010-2012, the death rate from
heroin overdose for the 28 states doubled from 1 to 2.1 per 100,000. So, you can
imagine I just want you to do the math.
In every county, in every state how much that is. And
interestingly, the death from painkiller
overdoses declined, minimally, from 6-5.6. But if
you combine the two, and take the population of a
particular state, you can see that there is a
reason that this is called an
epidemic. So how did we get here? Like they say, the road to hell
is paved with good intentions. So, 20 years ago,
about 15, 20 years ago, the medical system taught its residents and physicians that
we must consider pain as a fifth vital sign. Just
like we have pulse, blood
pressure, temperature, respiration. So
pain is a fifth vital sign and
you will frequently go to the hospital and find a
nurse ask you that you have pain and they will ask you
to score it with the smiley
faces or with the 1-10. And then developed because there’s the good, the
bad, and the ugly everywhere, in every profession and every
community. So you had compassionate prescribing. So
okay, like you go to as she said so well, that dentists previous just gave
ibuprofen and you were on your
way. But now, you get percocet or
you get vicodin. And So you had physicians who
were treating appropriately but then came about oxycontin
pill mills. All over the country, and we
have a ….had a tremendous concentration in southern Ohio,
and now that’s been substituted with heroin. And
these oxycontin pill mills created, reaped so much havoc
that I had a saying that there are 3 things that someone
will sell their mother for, and
that is heroin, oxycontin, and cocaine.
And in the old days, people didn’t,
we didn’t have these overdose
deaths. I just don’t remember 20 years ago these
opioid-overdose deaths. So the company quickly changed
the formulation of oxycontin They didn’t take it away, they
changed the formulation, so if
you crush it you can’t, it turns into a gel.
You can’t inject it or snort
it. But it’s still available for
people who’d like to take it
orally. There was a government crack
down on opioid prescribing, so this is just a
market, it’s a market economy I guess everything is,
so people switched from, if you
can’t get oxycontin, what can you get?
And what can you get so cheaply but heroin? And heroin,
people… I was so pained to know of Marin’s neck marks. Patients
don’t realize that they start injecting.
First they snort and there’s a hierarchy even among drug
users. That, “Oh no, no no, I ,
of course not, I would never do IV. I
would never shoot.” But they do. Eventually they do. They start
here peripherally on the arms,
and then they go here on the neck and the
dome of the lung is very close to the vein here, and I have
seen patients who suddenly collapse
off the lung because they hit
the top of the lung. So, there is no
danger, there is no limit that a heroin addict will
not go to to get to use heroin. I always ask a patient when
they first come into the
office, that how did your addiction begin. Was it
recreational? Was it peer
pressure? Was it prescribed for pain? And
almost invariably now the answer is prescribed,
“I was prescribed medication. Opioid medications.” And that is why I consider it
an iatrogenic disease iatrogenic disease means one
this created by physicians, by
the medical system. So, when we
created the oxycontin, and pain as a fifth vital sign,
we went on and then we are now in a situation where
we do have a prescription painkiller epidemic as well,
but heroin use has obviously topped it,
and I think the responsibility with treating
this lies largely to a great extent, on
physicians, because I think that it is only fair
that if you create something,
you should step up to the plate and treat
it as well. The disease that doesn’t
discriminate. There was a time, and I really,
really appreciate the comments which were so on
point, and so courageous because now we are dealing with
this disease because it is not a downtown disease.
It is a suburban disease and your
primary victim is white, but it can be anyone. Someone, the checkout
clerk at the grocery store, student, lawyer, homemaker,
doctor, businessman, anyone It just does not discriminate.
All races all religions. A lot of these
people, I call them people who are very very functioning. As
long as they get their fix, and their dose, they perform
complicated jobs. And, um, so they are likely to
be employed, and likely to be insured, and so this is
not a disease, and I really get
really upset when physicians
say, oh they make money off of the addicted
patient, but what they say is, “He’s just an addict.” And I
had a very very sad situation when I used to work
at Sassi in methadone
maintenance, there was a boy and he was 15 and he had been prescribed
oxycontin by a primary care
physician in Toledo, and he said, “I
wonder, I would go in there and I would say that I
have abdominal pain and he’d
give me percocet. And then he would, he wouldn’t examine
me, he would just take my money and he would just give me
the percocet, and he said, I
know he has a son who is my age. I wonder
whether he would do that for his son.” So in that prescribing,
in those 30 percocet or 60, 120
whatever. We’ve basically
written away a person’s entire life. Go ahead. So, like it was mentioned, it’s a chronic brain disease.
We have extensive studies which
show that it is a neural-bio-chemical basis for addiction, so when I
was given percocet for after a c-section, it didn’t do
anything for me. But for our
brain, that has there are familial
factors and there is a reward
circuit. And the reward circuit
basically tells the addicted
patient that “I have to have more of the
opioid. Otherwise, I can’t make it.”
And we have studies which show that the opioid
addicted brain is very
different it has structural changes.
There are changes in the
receptors of the opioid addicted brain compared to a
normal brain. And the saddest part is, that as time goes on,
the opioid receptors get blunted, so the
patient uses, the person uses, and they get this
incredible high if they have
all of the factors that align with opioid
addiction, and the sad part is that they chase that first high. And that
is how overdose deaths happen.   A very important slide which I
want you to go away with today that some people have
type 1 diabetes, other people
have high blood pressure, or asthma, and
this is a very interesting
slide, which tells you that there are
such similar characteristics So there is a familial nature,
it’s heritable. It’s influenced by behavior.
They are well studied, predictable, there are
effective treatments, and very,
very important to know that there is
no known cure for type 1
diabetes, or hypertension, or asthma, and
neither is there for addiction, but they are all
imminently treatable. So, you need continued care,
continued treatment, and very importantly if you
look at the relapse rates, they’re very similar. 40-60
percent for addiction, and 30-70
percent for those other
diseases. And also, the diseases worsen if they’re not treated.
So another message I want you
to go home with today is that this is a
very treatable disease. It’s
not something that we should feel
that, “Oh I’ve got it, it can’t be treated.” It’s
imminently treatable and we
have, and I have later on slides of wonderful
recoveries. So now my background has
changed because no is coming
the good news. Opiate withdrawal does not kill, but, like I said earlier,
chasing the first high and
taking higher and higher doses of
opioids does. Patients who are addicted, they
have a very, a lot of them have a very low
tolerance for discomfort and
they think that if I don’t get the, whatever it
is, if it’s a drug or heroin, I’m going to die.
And it’s so poorly taught in medical schools, I
have medical students here in the room, it’s so poorly
taught in medical schools that physicians themselves,
graduated physicians, get really nervous when someone
comes to them in opioid
withdrawal because they think that, “Oh my god,
the patient is really going to
die.” The word cold-turkey comes from opiate withdrawal and the
symptoms are goose-bumps, the
person feels hot and cold, they sweat,
they have diarrhea, they’re
nauseated, they throw up all over the place,
they have headaches, muscle
pain, and bone pain. And there are certain drugs,
heroin and oxycontin among them, are the two that
withdrawal is…methadone. These three the withdrawal is
so, so, so terrible that the
patient is absolutely convinced that
they are going to die. But
unless the patient is 95 years old and dies of
dehydration, they’re not gonna die. So even though
addiction is a brain disease, there is definitely an element
of choice. If I was just to
give you a rough thing, 70 percent, 60 percent
is disease, and 30-40 percent is choice. So
here you see choice, and I really hope that you will
encourage family and friends to seek treatment. I hope that
you will promote that addiction
is a brain disease, and primarily
that we have treatment, and we have life transformations.
Thank you.   Dr. Islam, thank you. Some
wonderful information there. We’re gonna
keep it moving here as quickly
as we can. Probably to the most nervous
person up here, maybe even more so than me, but he’s got
some friends here to back him
up and I think everyone here in the
room is gonna back him up as
well. Everyone, with a personal story about his
struggles and what he’s going
through right now please welcome Jordan Fleitz.   I’d like to thank you guys for
the opportunity to be here. It’s amazing to be able to see
this many people noticing this problem that’s
been around for quite a while. Cause I stopped using about a year and a half ago and
everybody I know was using. I don’t know, it’s cool that I
have I could probably name off 20
people in this room that are on
the same path as me. And it’s cool. It shows that it’s possible and it’s
very realistic to stay sober. I came from a good home. Good family, raised in the
suburbs. Nothing really traumatic
happened in my childhood. But once I got into high school, I
started drinking, and smoking weed, and
doing all the smaller time drugs. It eventually progressed
because the things I was told about these other, like
alcohol and marijuana and all this, right away it
didn’t turn out to be what I
thought it was gonna be or what I was
told it was gonna be. So, I was instantly like, I
kind of wanna see what the rest is
like, you know. Cause who knows if these stigmas are
real? And eventually, the drugs just
weren’t enough for me, and I had to keep
upgrading. I ended up… I don’t know I think it started
with prescription cough
medicine really. I didn’t realize what I was
doing. But when I was younger I would
drink the cough syrup that I got for my
colds or sinus infections and
it had codeine in it, or hydrocodone which are both
opiates, didn’t realize it. And I love it. And then later
on in life, I tried percocets, just for fun I guess, I wasn’t
prescribed them or anything, but with that, shortly after, I started doing them a lot and
then that’s when they reformulated
the pills, and probably within
a month or two I was shootin’ up. Doin’
heroin. Shooting up pills, because I
couldn’t afford to pay for these pills that just
raised double in price that I was used to taking every
day. I don’t know, over a period of
probably 2 years I was admitted into facilities about 7 times, and that’s kind of what shows me
that it’s, I don’t know there was a long time where I
wanted to be sober, but for
some reason, I just couldn’t do it. So, luckily my family was patient with me,
my friends were patient with
me, and my mom’s even here today
supporting me. So that’s cool, but the patience it really helped. I don’t know,
it had to get to the point to where I…nothing anybody told
me was going to keep me sober and I had to learn on my own
that, like, I was miserable and any way I tried
was not going to work. I had tried the maintenance
programs. I have specific feelings about
that. I don’t know, it was…it’s hard to say, “I’m gonna keep you
sober by giving you a drug.” And that’s
my view on it. And I don’t know. Indefinite suboxone. That’s also something that
worries me because what’s really the difference
between that and indefinite heroin use? Besides the fact
that it will kill you. But
you’re not gonna be happy,
you’re not. It really took me to learn how
to…I had to be willing to try to meet
people who were doing the… who were sober and figured out
how to life a happy lifestyle. And I had to follow what they did,
and in that case I ended up working a 12-step
program, and I’ve been
completely sober. I haven’t drank, I
haven’t smoked, I haven’t done
anything. And *clapping *   But it took a while to get to
that point, I mean, I had to
try it and I always ended up back at
heroin. That’s just what it
was. I can’t drink, because I will end up back
doing heroin. And I do stupid
things when I’m on heroin. I do really stupid things when
I’m on heroin. And I don’t know, I just wanted to emphasize that
it’s like, once you’re in, active use, it’s…I don’t
believe it’s a choice of whether you use or not. A
lot of people view it that way,
and especially people who don’t understand,
but like, if it was a choice
when I went to jail I would have gotten sober. I
wouldn’t have overdosed 70 or 3 days after I got out. And that was a treatment
facility jail. It’s tough. And I think that It’s hard to say what the community can really do because
it’s such a personal decision, and it’s
such a personal journey that,
like, you have to come to that conclusion
within yourself, and that heat from the law, that
heat from your family, none of that’s gonna get you
sober, and none of that’s gonna
keep you sober in my experience. So I don’t know it’s just, it’s
nice to be able to be here and it’s just amazing that this
many people are here. Really, because, I mean this
has been going on for a while. And there’s been some, I’ve
seen so many people’s lives ruined to this.
And I know where I was at and I was miserable, and that misery is what got me
sober. If I wasn’t miserable using, I’d probably
still be using. So, it’s just I don’t know, I don’t really
know where I was going with
this. Cause I’m nervous, but I’m
gonna pass. Thank you guys.   As real as it gets right there.
You did good, too. You were all nervous about it
and heck, you did an awesome
job. We’ll keep things rolling here. We’re gonna go next to
Tom. Tom obviously with the
fire department. He’s gonna address kind of the front line,
paramedic, medical end of this, and some of the
things that developed here
fairly recently that they’re seeing not only on
the street, but some of the
things that they’re able to
bring to the table now that they didn’t have
before. So please welcome Tom.   Good evening, it’s a privilege
to be here and I’ve learned a lot from the stories
I’ve hear tonight. They asked
me to give a pre-hospital perspective, and
my comments are gonna be brief. There’s been some recent
publicity for Bowling Green Fire due to in the last couple weeks we’ve
had what we call a narcan save. Or we’ve gotten a phone call
for someone whose overdosed on
an opiate or opioid and we’ve
administered narcan in the field and restored their breathing.
And of course, we transport them to the hospital.
Someone mentioned type 1 diabetes tonight. And in the
old days, we would start an IV and give someone
dextrose, and when they’d come
around, we’d always transport them to the hospital.
And things have changed a
little bit in that regard that now we can give dextrose, and
if the person has someone there with them. We can leave
them. I’ll talk a little bit
about narcan and my thoughts on it in
pre-hospital use. For those of you that aren’t
away, there’s opioid receptors in your central
nervous system, and that’s what
these opiates and opioids attach to and cause the
effects, and one of the effects that we see,
particularly in overdose or
abuse situations is respiratory
depression, and when that
happens, that’s when family or friends find the
person breathing very few times a
minute, blue, pale, and call 9-11, and that’s when
we respond. We give narcan a lot. It’s not just…we don’t use it just for
opioid abuse. We also use it diagnostically,
and if we have a patient that’s
unconscious, we’ll give narcan just to see
if the reason that they’re
unconscious is because they’ve overdosed on
opioids, much like we give unconscious people
dextrose to rule out that they
have diabetes, and that they have
hypoglycemia. So we’ve had 4 this year where
we were called in time and responded. And our response
time in the city of Bowling
Green is about 4 minutes so we get there
pretty quickly. Narcan, our administration has changed.
Heroin’s not new, narcan’s not
new. Narcan’s been around about 4 years, and as was
mentioned earlier, I’ve been at this about 30, and
there’s been Narcan in our drug
boxes for each of those 30 years so
it’s not anything new. One of
the things that has changed is that we’re able
to give it intranasally now,
and so before we would have to
start an IV and that took a few
minutes, and then draw up the meds, and
administer it and that took a
few more minutes, and you know minutes
and seconds count when
someone’s overdosed. So now we’ve had 4 this year.
Unfortunately, we’ve also had two that we were
not contacted in time. And you know, that’s disturbing
to us, and that’s why we’re
participating in forums like this. I’ve also
heard narcan referred to as a miracle
drug, or a treatment for heroin overdose,
and I wanna impress upon you that we train
our people that really, all
narcan does is reverse the respiratory
depression and give folks
another chance. One of the things that
came up in the taskforce meeting was
pre-hospital use of narcan by people other than
paramedics, and what were my thoughts on that?
And again, these are personal thoughts. We can respond in
four minutes. We work very closely with the
police department and they’re
always with us on these calls. And we’re fortunate here
that we have a fire department that
can respond immediately to a
call for help. Other parts of the country,
primarily rural, there isn’t a fire
department that can respond as quickly as
we can, and again, because
minutes and seconds count, it’s possible that police
offices could get there and
administer this drug because it’s as
simple now as spinning a little
device onto the syringe that creates a mist
when you inject it into the patients nose and it’s
absorbed into the nasal mucosa,
and the way that narcan works is
those same receptor sites in
the central nervous system that the heroin or other
opiates attach to, narcan also has an affinity
for those and will attach to those receptor sites
and block the effects. And that in turn causes the respiratory
depression to be reversed, and they come around.
And they come around in a
couple minutes: 2-8 minutes I think is what they
say. There’s also a move like was mentioned
tonight, to put narcan in the hands of family
members and friends, and you know, again, my only
concern with this, and someone
mentioned the shame and the stigma, is if narcan is administered by
someone who is not a
pre-hospital provider, or an emergency responder, my
concern personally, is that narcan could be given,
and the patient would come around, and then someone may
not call 9-11 for definitive care because of
shame or stigma and that kind
of thing. And something that people don’t
think about is the half-life of
narcan is occasionally shorter than the half-life os
some of these opioids, and what
that means is we give narcan and the
patient comes around, their respiratory depression is
reversed, they may regain
consciousness, and unless they get definitive
care, it’s possible that that
narcan will wear off and the symptoms
of the overdose, the
respiratory depression, will reoccur. So someone could
come around, and then go back
to sleep and not wake up, and you know, so
that’s one of the concerns that
we have about pre-hospital use by
other than EMS personnel. It certainly is not, there’s no
magic to this drug. I mean, it simply reverses the effects of
the respiratory depression, so we’ve offered to
participate in any training if
it does start to make its way into
community as a resource for family members and
friends, we’re certainly
willing to support that any way we can,
but again, we recognize as pre-hospital providers that
this is not a cure for heroin.
It’s not a… it doesn’t fix an overdose. And often times, 9 to 1 and the
hospital providers are here tonight,
they’re the portal to get the help that they need to battle
this disease, and we recognize it as a disease. And that’s
something that’s changed a
little bit in EMS as well. So, we’re all here to do hat we can and if anybody has any
questions, I’m happy to answer
them. I know that was a pretty
simple explanation of narcan, but
we’re using it a lot more and unfortunately, not just
diagnostically now. We’re
recognizing heroin and opiate overdoses, and was mentioned about
prescription drugs, and I’ll
just add one of our narcan saves was an elderly woman who took an extra dose of her opioid, it
was prescribed. And accidental, but she also
exhibited some symptoms of respiratory
depression, and so this isn’t
just something that we walk in and recognize it as
a heroin overdose. You know,
we’re giving this on more occasions and it affects all ages, and we have
to recognize that. So, thank
you for your time.   Thanks Tom, appreciate that very much. Next we’re gonna
bring up the law side of this. Obviously, this is front lines.
We’re talking about something here
that obviously is climbing, growing, exponentially
unfortunately, and these are
the guys that have to see it, not only up
front, but have to try and
prevent it, so these guys are working on multiple fronts,
so quick round of applause to
welcome Deputy Chief Hetrick please. Thank you all for being here
tonight. My purpose is to share with you
a little bit about the crime
trends that we’re seeing as a result of heroin and other
opiates. We as law enforcement, are
under no illusion that this is
an issue that we can solve or that
we’re even scratching the
surface with. I see some colleagues back here Chief Bear from North
Baltimore’s here. Yeah, he was one of the earlier jurisdictions to deal with
heroin in Wood county and you know, what I’m gonna
provide for you is just kind of
a snapshot of what we’ve seen
in Bowling Green. You know, I started in 1996, and occasionally, we would run
across somebody who had you know, codeine, someone who had a
couple syringes in their pocket, we might find a spoon
in a search of a car with a funny burnt area on the bottom
of it, but it really wasn’t a
concern to us. It was pretty much
anecdotal. We didn’t see a lot
of it. It wasn’t a Bowling Green type
problem. It was a larger, inner-city problem until 2012,
that all changed. We started having overdoses. In 2013, we had 8. This year the numbers
aren’t in, but I can tell you that it’s gonna be
considerably more than that. The character of the kinds of
crimes associated with the heroin problem, you
know, we’ve always had
shoplifting, we’ve always had burglaries,
car break-ins, but the character of those have started
to change, and we started seeing people stealing,
returning things for gift cards. They were using those to
get their heroin. Now the heroin users are looking
for discarded receipts. They’re
going and taking those receipts as
shopping lists. They’re going
and stealing, and returning for
cash. Cash is a lot more attractive
to a dealer than a gift card from target, so
that’s one of the things we’re seeing.
Burglaries, we saw a lot of people breaking
into houses, stealing
electronics, stealing guns, those kinds of things.
That’s changed a little. Now we
have people going in and just taking
purses for cash, looking for cash leaving everything else.
In and out quick, not taking
credit cards because you know you can track somebody
using a credit card that’s been
stolen, so that’s kind some of the
differences that we’ve seen. This summer we experienced 3
very significant robberies in
Bowling Green. One of those was Jacks
Pharmacy at the hospital. It was a pharmacy
robbery for morphine. And the suspect was known to
the people who worked at Jacks pharmacy cause that’s
where he went to get his
prescriptions, so they knew who
it was. He didn’t care. He led us on a 100 mph chase down route 6.
Wrong lane, by the edgewood, around the curve,
just a complete disregard for the safety of others. The only
thing that stopped him was he wiped out a cornfield near
Pemberville. After a 6 hour
manhunt, we finally found him when he
was trying to get about from
the cornfield. But right now, he’s looking at
10 years in prison for this, and it was
all because he was addicted to
heroin. He needed that fix. All these
things show me one thing, and that’s
desperation. These people are
desperate. The risk reward processes that
people go through when they try to reason through whether
or not to do crime are totally
out of balance with heroin. The risk doesn’t
even enter into it. It’s all reward
for them, so you know, think about the
nicest person you’ve ever met and then picture them going in,
robbing some place with a
firearm. That’s what heroin does to
people, and we understand it’s
a sickness. We understand that law enforcement, you know we’re
gonna come in, we’re gonna try
to do our best to make sure
those people get locked up. Well, that looks
great in theory, but it doesn’t work. And I’ll get into
a little more on that in a minute. One of the
subjects that we had one other robberies with this summer had
a $200 a day habit and what that translates into is a tenth of a gram for heroin is
about 10-20 dollars. 1 gram is 80-120 dollars, 120
being on the high end being either
fentanyl or something that’s
referred to as China-white, really pure heroin. But, you know, it started with
the pill addiction during most of these cases, and
a pill, 60-80 dollars per pill, so obviously, like
we’ve said before, what’re you
gonna go to? You’re gonna go to that heroin.
It’s a lot cheaper. It’ll get
you a lot further Well, where to people get the funds, you know. When you start
in on this trajectory for addiction, you
know, most people are not criminal types, they’re not
gonna go out and commit these
robberies. Maybe down the road that’s where they end up,
but initially, they’re gonna
get the funds usually from stealing
from their family members. We
have found that family members have been
reluctant to report minor
thefts, you know, they find money
missing, they suspect it’s something, but they really
didn’t wanna report a loved one, and we understand that that’s a
very hard to do, but the alternative is you know maybe
down the road, something a lot
more serious. If someone in your
family is a victim of a burglary and
you know that there’s somebody
else in your family who has an addiction, we have
found, in Wood county, that
that’s a good suspect for that burglary, that
a lot of times, that’s who
we’re looking for. We’re gonna find that person
and they’re gonna be the one
responsible for it. Okay, our county jail system has really become kind of
forced detox center, right now as we see it. Luckily, in
Wood county, we do have services available in the jails that are
dealing with these addictions while the inmates waiting to be
adjudicated. This may be the only way to force some
people into treatment. The alternative to not using
everything that society has at
its disposal to deal with this addiction is
a real possibility of death for
that person. So, when I say we’re
under no allusion that we as people who go out and try
to enforce law can do this one our own, we
know we cannot. You know, when we talk about
the fatalities that have
occurred, we’ve had two in the city of
Bowling Green this year, and you know I’d like to thank the
family of Dan Patton Jr. for
coming tonight. Cause I wanted to talk about
Dan and what happened in his
case and what we’ve been able to do
to try to try something novel, a
different approach in dealing with it. We have found
that the person who sold Dan the
heroin had left somewhat of a trail
for us, so we persued that person, and
we had them charged with reckless homicide, and they did
plead guilty to that charge.
They’re awaiting sentencing at
this point, but you know, she’s an addict as well we found out,
and that’s another thing. There’s
networks, these networks,
people who use together, deal together, it’s intertwined, it locks a lot of
people up together. Unfortunately in September, we
had a second death. Mike Wennick passed away as a
result of an overdose. That investigation’s still
pending, and we hope that we’re gonna be able to
hold somebody accountable for
his death as well. We do a lot of collaboration in Wood county. And that’s the
great thing about this county.
Whenever we have a problem, we
all come together to try find solutions
for it. Some of the things that
we’re doing in the BGPD and the county wide
area you know, we’re ramped up our
investigations, we have 6
people dedicated to investigating not only drug
offenses, but general offenses. The Wood county Sheriff’s
office has a core of
investigators that work very closely with our investigators
because this problem is goes outside of Wood county.
We’re finding a lot of it originates in the Toledo area,
and you know, you would think
that you know at traffic stops we
would find heroin, but heroin
gets used as quickly as it gets bought
most of the time. So, we’re not
finding it, we’re finding the needles,
we’re finding the spoons, we’re
finding the paraphernalia, but you know, to hang a charge
for possession you know, I could tell you in
2013 we had 1. But we had 8 overdoses and we
had a few more trafficking offenses, but it’s…you know
we’re only scratching the
surface, so we’re doing all we can. We’ve
proposed to get a k-9 program going in the city of
Bowling Green. It’s gonna be a
drug K-9. The Wood County law
enforcement executives association has discussed and
we’re gonna be looking at narcan for some of the
county agencies that don’t have
the quick EMS response like we do
here in the city. We partner with service
providers. We all sit, the chief who couldn’t be
here tonight. I’m standing in
for him actually, Chief Connor has been
on the opiate taskforce for
quite a while. I’ve been part of the
prevention coalition, and this
is always at the top of our
agenda, almost every meeting,
at least it has been for the last year or two, so
again, we have one of the drop boxes, as does
the Wood county sheriff’s
office for used prescriptions
and on those prescription take back
days, we normally get close to
100 pounds. So people are utilizing those
and that’s a good thing, so you know, I hope that this just
gives you a little bit of a snap shot of what’s going
on in Wood County it is no longer, like has been
said, a big city problem. It’s here, and
it’s largely a threat to our family members,
to the safety of the community, I mean, the pursuits
that we’ve had with a couple of these robbery
suspects have been just by the grace of God no one
was hurt, so that’s something that we take
very seriously, we’re very
alarmed by, and hope that you understand
we’re doing all we can in this
county in law enforcement to
try to address it. So thank you.     Thank you for joining us and tuning into part 2 of our
series. We have a long way to
go in terms of finishing this epidemic, but programs like the
one you just watched help to
inform the public on issues that affect
everyone in our communities. Be
sure to tune into part 3 of our series where we will
take an in depth look at the
social and economic impact this epidemic is having
on our economy and society. For WBGU-TV, I’m Steve Kendall.
We’ll see you next time.                  

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