Sheriff: Addicts who wait for detox bed go back to dealer

Sheriff: Addicts who wait for detox bed go back to dealer

LUCAS COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - A panel of experts, including Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken and Sheriff John Tharp, held a discussion about addiction and breaking the cycle Monday night. It was part of three town halls put on by Commissioner Gerken.

"The opiate addiction has been a major plague on the entire county, not just segments of the county, it's all over the county," said Gerken.

He says there have been great steps in the right direction.

Two years ago Sheriff Tharp introduced the Drug Abuse Response Team or DART to help addicts recover. Tharp even went to the White House to talk about the program.

Plus, Gerken says 70 treatment beds have been added to the Zepf Center.

"We're lucky enough to partner with the state of Ohio, the Attorney General saw the value of what we're doing here in Lucas County - first county he came to - funded some beds that are now at the Parkwood residence side of Zepf," said Gerken.

But Sheriff Tharp says there's an urgent need for more detox beds, a short term safe place for addicts to go before they can be moved to a more long term recovery bed.

"Every night we're out responding and helping people get into detox beds, but there's not enough detox beds to go around," said Tharp.

He says sometimes an addict can wait 24 to 48 hours for a bed.

"They'll end up going back to the dealer," said Tharp.

Tharp says agencies have stepped up and it's easier now to find a bed than it was before, but there's more work to be done.

Gerken's next town hall meeting is August 23 at the Kent Branch Library. The topic will be workforce development. 

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