LUCAS COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp has gone to war against the heroin epidemic plaguing our area. Nearly two years ago, he created the Drug Abuse Response Team or DART without funding or resources. It now has 13 dedicated officers.
But Tharp says the fight is far from over and he's gearing up to begin the next phase.
He says it's all about education, educating parents, kids and doctors about prescription pain killers and how they can lead to heroin.
"We have student athletes that have their bones broken. They receive Oxycontin 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, whatever it may be, but if someone is on Oxycontin for 60 days there is a great chance they are an addict," said Tharp.
He says when doctors stop writing those subscriptions, many turn to small doses of heroin. A fact the sheriff admits he didn't learn till a year ago, and is afraid those teaching our kids don't know enough about.
"I don't know if all educators in our community really know because it's so new," said Tharp.
School districts like TPS teach students about the dangers of illegal drugs in junior high and high school health classes. But Tharp wants to see an emphasis on painkiller addictions and heroin as well.
"We need to do that aggressively and I believe the schools are on board. I don't think anyone would ever say 'no we should not do the drug addiction in the junior highs and high schools,'" said Tharp.
Sheriff Tharp says he is will train educators and pool any resources possible to make sure that the next phase happens and that the epidemic stops with our kids.
Ultimately, Tharp says he would like to see the DARE program, which starts in 5th grade, continue through junior high and high school with a tailored topics and format.