Tuesday, Sep 26, 2017
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Blade Editorial Board to hold online opioid discussion

DOJ-Opioids-2

A reporter holds up an example of the amount of fentanyl that can be deadly after a news conference about deaths from fentanyl exposure.

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The Blade’s editorial board will host a discussion Tuesday about the community’s response to the opioid epidemic.

Joining the board for the discussion will be Todd Crandell, founder of Racing for Recovery; John Edwards, executive director of Lucas County’s Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program; Denise Poage, a recovering heroin addict, and Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp.

The event will be live-streamed on Facebook at 2 p.m. and broadcast at a later date on Buckeye Cable Community Channel 69.

Last year, more than 4,000 Ohioans died from accidental opioid overdoses, according to the Ohio Department of Health — a 36 percent increase over 2015.

Blade Editorial Page Editor Keith Burris said the topic calls for deep discussion as the region struggles to find answers to epidemic’s the social, legal, and health effects.

“From time to time The Blade editorial board holds a discussion on a topic of great and general importance that we think should be shared with the public,” Mr. Burris said. “I suppose the two great issues facing northwest Ohio are water and the opioid addiction crisis. We write often on both subjects and we have held a forum on water. 

“Ohio has one of the worst addiction epidemics in the nation and greater Toledo is losing scores of people, including very young people, to this scourge. So we have asked a group of people who deal with the matter every day to help inform and thereby empower the public on this issue,” Mr. Burris said.

Among local leaders in the effort to address the opioid-addiction epidemic is Sheriff Tharp, who created the county’s Drug Abuse Response Team within the sheriff’s office. DART officers emphasize community outreach and aim to divert addicts from the criminal-justice system into treatment and recovery.

The panel discussion is expected to focus on the latest trends and information Sheriff Tharp has learned from DART officers working firsthand with addicts and their families. Editors also expect to address the questions of why Ohio is among the hardest-hit states, why heroin is such a difficult addiction to treat, and what resources local officials need to combat the epidemic.

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