RIO GRANDE — Officials from Gallia and Jackson counties attended a roundtable discussion earlier this week about heroin addiction with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and state Rep. Ryan Smith in the Village of Rio Grande Municipal Building.
Rio Grande Mayor Matt Easter played host to the event.
Community leaders convened to address methods and concerns with the combating of addiction. Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning discussed the role of the sheriff’s office in housing inmates going through withdrawal. Browning discussed medical and housing costs for inmates in the county jail. The sheriff also addressed how deputies are trained in the use of naloxone to combat the effects of individuals overdosing on opioids.
Gallia County Prosecutor Jeff Adkins spoke of the work of the Gallia-Meigs Major Crimes Task Force with whom his office partners. The task forces makes use of intelligence to track heroin traffickers and where the drug is being sold. Adkins discussed that his office had been pursuing prosecutions for corrupting another with drugs.
“This criminal statute allows me to pursue those who are getting people hooked on heroin and aiding in their formed drug habit, oftentimes making a profit on the persons they get addicted,” Adkins said.
Adkins said his office pursues forfeitures of money from anyone who engages in illegal activity and is found to be in possession of cash, vehicles and other property known to come from illegal drug proceeds.
“We have been very successful in taking drug money from drug dealers and re-investing it into Gallia County, whether it be for law enforcement purposes or counseling rehabilitative services,” he said. “This is such an important tool for us, especially when budgets are tight.”
Along with local law enforcement personnel, department heads of agencies focused on providing behavioral health assistance to individuals battling addictions were also present. Heads discussed grant funding opportunities at the state and federal levels to provide for those in need. Job training an educational operations for those released from incarceration or rehabilitation were also discussed.