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Social services levy to be sought again amid opioid crisis

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MEDINA — The Medina County Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Board is planning on collaborating with two other agencies to put a social services levy on the ballot in November.

The Medina County Office for Older Adults, and Job and Family Services’ Children’s Services will be on the levy with the ADAMH board.

Phillip Titterington, executive director of the ADAMH board, said the particulars have not been worked out just yet, including the millage or the length of the levy.

However, he said after the Medina County Opiate Task Force meeting Friday that he doesn’t expect it to be more than 1 mill.

Titterington said there are 54 ADAMH boards around the state. Only four don’t have a levy including Medina County which uses other funding sources including an allocation from the county commissioners.

“We are heavily dependent on federal and state dollars,” he said. “The levy will help provide a more predictable source of funding.”

Titterington said the ADAMH board’s focus for levy dollars would be to provide peer recovery support.

A consultant has been hired to help the ADAMH board to walk through the steps of putting a levy on the ballot. He said there was a meeting scheduled for last Wednesday with the consultant, but it was canceled because of the cold weather.

“We’re shooting for (Nov. 5),” Titterington said.

This will be the second time a levy attempt is made in recent years. The ADAMH board attempted to pass a levy in 2015, but it was unsuccessful.

In other news

  • Naloxone use by law enforcement agencies has decreased in Medina County.

According to data provided by Gary Hubbard, director of the Medina County Drug Task Force, law enforcement used naloxone, which is a drug that counteracts an opioid overdose, 130 times in 2017.

That dropped to 63 in 2018 and only four so far this year.

“That is half of where we were (in 2018),” Medina County Health Commissioner Krista Wasowski said. “Does that mean we’re on the backside of drugs and the effects in our community? No.”

Instead, she said it appears heroin has been replaced by methamphetamines as the drug of choice.

“This is just a snapshot of what is happening in the community,” Wasowski said. “It seems like we’re going in the right direction, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”

There were 28 opioid overdose deaths in 2017. That dropped to 21 deaths in 2018 —15 males and 6 females.

There were 121 opioid overdoses in 2018 including 90 males and 31 females. The average age of the males was

33.3 years old. Of the 90 males, 23 were repeat offenders. The youngest was 18 years old and the oldest was 78.

The average age of the females was 33.7. There were three repeaters. The youngest was 21 and the oldest was 54.

Naloxone use on the overdoses was 63 by police and four by citizens. Brunswick police used it the most in 2018 with 19. There have been seven opioid overdoses thus far in 2019 (five males and

two females) and no deaths. The average age of the males was 30.8, with two repeaters. The youngest was 23 and the oldest 34.

A 36-year-old woman accounted for both reported overdoses of females this year. Police used naloxone four times on the overdoses, while a citizen administered the drug once. There were two motor vehicle-related overdoses.

  • The ADAMH board is planning to build a recovery housing center for women on Northland Drive in Medina.

Titterington said he found that women leaving jail have few places to live.

“There is a gap in services in housing,” he said. “We want to know how we can bridge that gap.”

He said the center will house 12 women in six bedrooms. Eventually, it will also serve women with children.

“We’re in the process of working on that project,” Titterington said. “We’ve submitted a capital grant. We’re looking for funds. We have an architect looking at it.”

He said he hopes the project will break ground in the summer.

“We’re trying to be adaptable to the growing needs of the community,” Titterington said.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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