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Ohio city thinks it may have cure for heroin problem

Ohio city thinks it may have cure for heroin problem

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (WTVN) -- The state has a big heroin problem and one community thinks it may have the solution.

Chillicothe Mayor Jack Everson met with members of Gov. John Kasich's staff to present his city's plan for dealing with the heroin epidemic. He doesn't think Chillicothe's heroin problem is any different than any other community's.

"We've just decided to rip the covers off and take a close look at it so we can deal with it," he said.

Everson's plan was developed with a task force of community, health, and law enforcement leaders in Ross County. They began meeting last October. They scrapped the treatment model based on a 12-step plan used for alcoholics and decided to try a tiered program. He says treatment is the key to winning this war on heroin.

"With more effective treatment the judicial system has more options for sentencing people to where they get help not where they get punishment and then law enforcement can come in and sweep the city clean," he said.

Right now, Everson says the courts know there isn't room in the jail and so they simply turn addicts back out onto the street to re-offend again.

"It's just a head-banging exercise."

Everson says he'd like to see the program expanded statewide so it could get the resources it needs to really take off. He doesn't think it would cost any more than what's already being spent to combat the heroin problem.

"We're spending billions of dollars shooting shotgun shells at sparrows and wasting a lot of buckshot in the process on things that don't work," he said.

He says it's foolish to keep using the current system because it's clearly not working and time is running out to fix the problem.

(Photo courtesy Getty Images)

 

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