With opiate overdoses in the county climbing to more than 100 this year, the Medina County Drug Abuse Commission is considering forming a task force in response, Director Brian Nowak said Tuesday.
“We have been working to tackle the problem of heroin abuse via enforcement, prevention and treatment,” Nowak told county commissioners at their weekly meeting. “But now, this task force will allow for better collaboration among agencies.”
County officials established the Medina County Drug Task Force in 1987 to address crack cocaine concerns. The purpose was to “identify, investigate and arrest those persons involved in drug trafficking, drug cultivation, drug manufacturing, to dismantle drug networks and to seize drug shipments,” according to the organization’s website.
That task force “serves to identify, investigate, arrest and aid in the prosecution of individuals to help minimize the effects of drug abuse in Medina County,” the site explains.
Nowak said he had no information yet about whether a heroin task force would be affiliated with the already-established organization.
Data from the Ohio Department of Health indicate that unintentional drug overdoses remain the leading cause of accidental deaths statewide for the ninth year in the row. Of Ohio’s 2,590 overdose deaths in 2015, 21 were in Medina County.
The task force reported 127 suspected opiate overdoses in the county this year as of Aug. 22. That figure is just two short of 2015’s total of suspected overdoses.
The commission has scheduled a workshop to discuss addiction and treatment issues March 22 at Weymouth Country Club, 3946 Weymouth Road, Medina Township. Nowak said anyone affected by heroin abuse — including those seeking treatment and their friends and family — will be welcome.
Nowak said compulsive behavior expert Dr. Omar Manejwala of Charlotte, N.C., will address the session. Manejwala is board certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine. He serves as chief medical officer at Catasys, a health services management company with nationwide operations and is the author of “Craving: Why We Can’t Seem to Get Enough,” a book on addiction treatment.
Contact reporter Marina Malenic at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.