The heroin epidemic is affecting communities all over the state of Ohio, including our community here in Dublin. Recently, on December 9, 2015 more than 200 people attended a Community Town Hall meeting at the Dublin Recreation Center to discuss this issue.
At the Town Hall, a father spoke of losing his 21-year-old son to a heroin overdose, one day after the young man got out of rehab. A mother told those gathered about her son, struggling with addiction. And a former addict shared his story of hitting rock bottom before finally starting the long road to recovery.
People who attended the town hall had a long list of questions for Dublin Police and the panel of experts at the meeting. How are police tracking where the drugs are coming from? What can parents do if they suspect drug use? What are we going to do differently to end this epidemic?
Not all of these questions have easy answers, but we do know one thing that we, as a community, can do differently – we are going to talk about the problem.
Because addiction fuels many of the property crimes in our City, heroin is affecting us all. A large number of thefts, thefts from vehicles and burglaries are directly tied to heroin abuse and addiction.
While property crimes are a major focus for the Dublin Police Department, the greater toll on communities is the human one – loved ones lost to overdose, or still alive but struggling with addiction to the point they are nearly unrecognizable to their friends and family.
For all these reasons, the heroin epidemic is a community problem, and it requires a community solution. You are part of that solution. We encourage you to report suspected drug abuse. In the event of an emergency, call 911. You can also report suspected drug activity by calling the non-emergency line at 614-889-1112, or by submitting an anonymous tip online at www.DublinOhioUSA.gov/contact-us/contact-the-police/.
For those of you directly affected by this epidemic, know there is help here in Dublin. The A.C.T. Coalition; PERC (Parents Encouraging Responsible Choices) and Syntero, Inc. are all valuable resources for families impacted by addiction. You can also always reach out to the Dublin Police Department for help.
The December town hall meeting was just the beginning of this community’s conversation on heroin abuse. We are going to keep talking about this for as long as it takes, and we encourage you to start talking, too – to your children, grandchildren, friends and neighbors. Chances are someone you know is affected by this epidemic.*
Heinz von Eckartsbeg is Chief of Police for the City of Dublin.
*City Scene Magazine/Dublin Life February-March 2016