This is part of a fourteen-week series highlighting many aspects of drug use, enforcement of drug laws and treatment that community members and authorities in Hancock County face.
In the second week of a multi-week series on drug addiction in Hancock County, participants heard from Hancock County Sheriff Michael Heldman as he discussed how law enforcement deals with drug issues on a daily basis. Sheriff Heldman highlighted several key factors, including statistics which stated that drug and alcohol abuse were by far the largest issue that his office deals with.
“The general public has no idea what we’re dealing with, and I’m glad that we have forums like this where we can start telling people and explain some of the issues that we’re dealing with” said Sheriff Heldman.
Jail Administrator Lt. Ryan Kidwell highlighted several programs that his office has implemented and said that the vast majority of inmates incarcerated at the Hancock County Jail had a substance abuse problem of some kind.
“Anywhere from 80 to 85 and even up to 90% of those incarcerated in Hancock County Justice Center have some form of addiction. Whether it’s an addiction to alcohol, whether it’s an addiction to a drug, or whether it’s an addiction to both.” said Lt. Kidwell.
Kidwell says that because so many inmates return through the system on a continuous, you can watch the progression of the abuse over time. He noted that if you look at pictures of the inmates over the course of twenty years, you can see clearly how the drug abuse manifests itself.
“Really it’s hard to recognize the individual today from where they were twenty years ago.” said Lt. Kidwell.
Sheriff Heldman stated that he had concerns about proposed ballot measures that would legalize some forms of marijuana in the state, as well as a growing concern regarding heroin addiction, which he notes is by far the biggest drug issue that deputies face on a weekly basis.
“The overall heroin problem, epidemic problem that we have, we know that it’s here and it’s not going away fast.” said Sheriff Heldman.
The seminar next week will discuss the role of the criminal justice system in enforcing drug abuse cases. The featured speaker will be Judge Reginald Routson. The seminar will be at in Davis 2225 at the University of Findlay starting at 6pm next Wednesday evening.
The seminars are sponsored by The University of Findlay College of Pharmacy, Hancock County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services, Hancock County Community Partnership and the Hancock County Opiate Task Force.
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