BRUNSWICK — There have been 37-drug related deaths reported in Medina County as of Wednesday, according to data provided by the Medina County Health Department.
For the year 2016, there were 44 drug-related deaths.
In effort to prevent drug-related deaths, and provide support and resources for victims and their families, Medina County leaders came together earlier this year to form a county opiate task force, and eight months later, the force is seeing progress.
“Medina County has more programs now than we had a year ago,” Medina County Sherriff Tom Miller said.
Since their first meeting in February, the group has seen the launch of several community initiatives that members said contribute to the group’s initiative assist to those affected by the epidemic
n In July, Robby’s Recovery Center opened at the former Medina Steak & Seafood restaurant, 538 W. Liberty St., Medina.
The center, open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, has 19 programs in place. Medina County Common Pleas Judge Joyce V. Kimbler described the center as “warm and welcoming” and “a place where all people (not just those in recovery) find ways to connect.”
“It’s so amazing to see Robby’s being embraced by the community,” Kimbler said. “Robby’s is not just a place of recovery; it’s a place of community.”
- The Medina County Sheriff’s Office and Alternative Paths are forming a county opioid response team after receiving a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
Medina County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike Norris and Gail Houk, director of forensic services at Alternative Paths, will be the two responders to drug-related emergencies. Houk said the team will then assist the patient and/or their family in seeking treatment.
“We have three referral sources — law enforcement, places like Robby’s and (Medina) hospital,” Houk said. The team’s clinician Becky Paris will “focus on community engagement — getting people connected to treatment and services and follow up with patients for a 30- or 60-day tracking period.”
Houk said the team is hoping to start in mid-November.
- Community Assessment and Treatment Services is partnering with Summa Health in Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital to open a 16-bed inpatient treatment center for men with opiate and heroin addictions. It is scheduled to open in March.
- Expansion of programs at Alternative Paths Inc., and the Medina County Medina County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board, including youth and early childhood mental health services.
“We have a continuum here,” Phillip Titterington, executive director of the ADAMH Board and chair of the task force, said at the group’s meeting Friday. “I think we can keep building on it, and do we need to build on it, yes.”
Cheryl Parzych, director of United Way of Medina County, said she would like agencies to compile data that shows how many people are in recovery.
“I think the community deserves to know and see those people who are struggling and getting treatment,” Parzych said.
Alternative Paths CEO Mark Trew said his agency sees an average of 5,000 to 6,000 people a year.
“We have seen about 1,800 people this year alone just in outpatient care,” he said.
The Opiate Task Force is made up of representatives from treatment centers, law enforcement, county schools, government and local agencies. The force branched out into three subcommittees — health, safety and intervention; treatment access and availability; and prevention, education, advocacy and family support.
Kristen Hildreth, director of community health at the Medina County Health Department and chair of the prevention, education, advocacy and family support committee, said the group is meeting 9:30 a.m. Nov. 14 for a training on social media. Hildreth said the training will help the task force promote programs, events and services.
“There’s so much happening in the community that we need to get out to people,” Hildreth said.
They will meet at Medina library, 210 S. Broadway St.
For a list of upcoming meeting dates and times, and progress reports from the task force and committees, visit www.medinamentalhealth.com.
Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.