The Attorney General Mike DeWine was in town on January 21, 2014 to address the heroin epidemic in Ohio and to talk about how Akron (Summit County) is affected. The Attorney General’s office asked China Krys Darrington to speak on the panel as a person in recovery from heroin addiction. The Akron Beacon Journal covered the story and this is what they had to say:
Heroin forum touches on plague in Akron, suburbs
By Phil Trexler, Beacon Journal staff writer
Published: January 21, 2014 – 08:07 PM | Updated: January 22, 2014 – 04:35 PM
Akron Police Chief James Nice spent his Martin Luther King Jr. holiday amid his city’s drug and gun plague. There were the two kids, both not old enough for kindergarten, dodging bullets flying between drug dealer and robber inside their valley home. And there was the low-level dealer being shot four times before his body was tossed from a car on the city’s West Side.
For Nice, the drug epidemic — whether it’s heroin, prescription painkillers or cocaine — is nothing new. Same with guns. He has been around both since his FBI days in Los Angeles. But as a lawman, all he sees is the revolving door of justice. “If you can deal heroin in the state of Ohio with no accountability, I think it’s a mistake, no ifs, ands or buts,”
Nice said during a drug abuse community forum held Tuesday in Akron.Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine hosted the session that drew more than 100 people, mostly professionals who work in some fashion with drug addicts. The meeting was the third stop in a series of forums DeWine plans to host across the state over the next several months. A panel including Nice, Summit County Sheriff’s Inspector Bill Holland, Juvenile Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio, Medical Examiner Dr. Lisa Kohler and several leaders in the realm of drug addiction and treatment focused primarily on the heroin epidemic that has been well documented in the past year around Ohio.
Kohler recounted the surging death toll among heroin addicts who overdose, from the 15-year-olds to those in their 50s and 60s.
Holland talked about the recent arrest of 20-plus heroin dealers and the efforts law enforcement is making on a daily basis to go after whomever is selling drugs.
Teodosio spoke of her new Crossroads court program, designed to help juveniles and their families affected in some way by drug abuse.
DeWine served as moderator and cautioned everyone that the epidemic is real and not all that choosy on whose life it affects: the rich, the poor, suburbanites and urbanites. “We have a problem,” he said, “but we can’t arrest our way out of the problem.” DeWine almost marveled at the Mexican cartel business model that has made heroin affordable in the wake of the state’s crackdown on opiate prescription medicine abuse. No longer, he said, is heroin found in a dark-alley setting. It is sold in small towns and big cities, in schools and on campuses. Attacking the supply is one method. Treating the addiction, he said, is another imperative step. “We know there’s also a demand problem,” he said.
Holland and others in the audience agreed that community leaders must continue to educate parents and youths to break down the demand. “They need to know heroin is addictive and very, very deadly,” he said.
Phil Trexler can be reached at 330-996-3717 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PhilTrexler.