By Donna Carver
January 14, 2014
Combating the drug problem in Morrow County was the main topic of discussion at the January Elected Officials meeting.
County Commissioner Dick Miller expressed that we need a drug agent to interface with Metrich. “We are going to try to figure out how to get more dedicated people to help with the drug problem in the county.”
Morrow County Common Pleas Judge Howard Hall stated, “There is no question with the effect of the drug culture into the criminal justice system that we can and should be doing more.”
Hall shared that there has been discussion about perhaps getting a special drug deputy and interfacing with Metrich. “It may take a little doing at first but once word gets out perhaps it might be extremely beneficial. I would like to see some special emphasis on that.” Said Hall.
Morrow County Prosecutor Charles Howland stated that he would like to lend his support for getting a county drug task force person going. “If you look at our violent crime it is almost always a drug tie in.” he continued, “When we have drug trafficking issues in the county we invite violence. It is very important that we take this step.”
Commissioner Tom Harden agreed, “I think it is going to be money well spent.”
Clerk of Courts Vanessa Mills said that she supported someone to come in to help as well. She stated that as far as treatment goes this is an issue in the county.
Judge Hickson explained drug court certification and drug court issues. “We have to get certification for our drug courts now. We have done that.” He explained that in having certification the court can only have in the drug courts residents of the county and the county has to have the service providers and drug treatment people. “178 courts in Ohio have sought certification. We are at the beginning of getting ours and that is a credit to Judge Hall, he is one of the first judges to initiate this type of programming necessary to break the cycle of drug addiction.” Noted Hickson. He cited transportation as one of the biggest problems within the county. “Getting individuals to their programs, to drug court it is inherent in the punishment that is drug related with a minimum of 6 months up to 5 years revocation of driving privileges. In a county that doesn’t have a strong public transportation system that becomes a problem.” He said.
Hickson continued, “We are working on an option with the larger Morrow, Delaware County Mental health and Recovery Services Board. We are looking at some unique ways of attacking the area of heroin or opiates. There is a new drug called *Vivitrol which is highly expensive which involves a monthly injection and makes them sick if they take any heroin or an opiate.” He continued, “We are working potentially with the board and will try to identify some unique individuals that this is going to work for. That may involve that shot taking place in a clinic in Morrow County. That is the direction we are going.”
Sheriff Brenneman shared that with the drug issue they are looking at getting an officer and that he will be meeting with Metrich soon and work with them and the Delaware officers to get this going. The Sheriff gave an update on the cruiser situation. “ We have not yet received the two new cruisers and the old ones are having issues. We are scrambling to keep cruisers on the road.”
He shared that Chief Deputy Troy Landon and Sgt. Brian Newsome are attending the NASCAR training. This is sponsored by NASCAR to discuss security. This is no cost to the county. He also noted that an inmate brooke another sprinkler broke at the jail.
Commissioner Dick Miller shared that every time there is an elected officials meeting, the commissioners are going to review the projects that they have decided to work on. In doing so they will assign a commissioner to be the lead person to follow up in an effort to keep things from “falling through the cracks so to speak.” Said Miller.
There was discussion about the dog shelter. Miller explained that the county is looking at different locations and different options.
Judge Hickson asked for clarification as to the pound being a pound or a shelter. “It is not a shelter? It means that it is not your responsibility to provide all the nuances that are required by a shelter?” He asked.
Commissioner Miller explained that there are two different missions. One is the county and what their responsibilities are and what the county is allowed to spend tax payer money on versus the mission of the Humane Society. We are trying to identify where we stop and where the Humane Society should start. We are willing to work with the Humane Society but we have to make sure we are not spending our money on a mission that we are not allowed to spend tax payer dollars on.”
Commissioner Miller shared that Commissioners day at the fair they would like to be more of an event such as having an opening ceremony.
Commissioner Harden asked about a policy about evidence in regards to the evidence found that caused some issues at the court house.
Charles Howland stated that they are working on it and getting that problem solved. They will be working with the evidence officer. It was an issue of old evidence that got buried and someone found it. It was handled quite well with the exception of one office in the courthouse was unaware of what was going on we need a system of notification to get word out. It was a stable device.
County Auditor Mary Holtrey stated that certification from the budget commission was a little better than what they had hoped.
Commissioner Whiston noted that even with that they have requests and will have to do some significant pairing back.
Commissioner Tom Whiston explained that this past year the county had paid down on some of the expenses and intends to continue and hopes to start to work on the long term debt. “We will continue to try and be very frugal with what we do with money.” He said.
The medicine Vivitrol blocks the effect of opiates on brain cells. A research study done with 250 heroin addicts shows it reduces relapse (compared to a placebo injection) and allays narcotic cravings.
At the end of six months, 86 percent of patients taking Vivitrol were drug-free, going to counseling sessions and functioning in a job or at school, compared to 57 percent of those who got a placebo.
Vivitrol is not addictive, unlike other anti-addiction drugs. Those medicines basically replace heroin or other opiates-of-abuse with a more benign form of addiction. A big drawback to those treatments is that patients need to take them every day – in the case of methadone, under supervision at special clinics.