Toledo Lucas Co. Public Library responds to alleged heroin use in public libraries
(Source: Toledo Lucas County library website)
Toledo Lucas Co. Public Library responds to alleged heroin use in public libraries
Part of Chicago Tribune article that mentions Toledo Lucas County Public Library. (Source: Chicago Tribune)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Recently, reports have circulated that people have been going to public libraries to use heroin. But is that really the case?

An article in the Chicago Tribune referenced the Toledo library system and reports heroin use in libraries is a growing problem.

But Lucas County Public Library officials said Tuesday that the Tribune was pointing out Toledo's proactive approach to the heroin problem, not suggesting libraries here have an issue.

"The library is very family friendly and always has been," said Ben Malczewski, Toledo Lucas County Public Library spokesman.

He said while the library has partnered with the Drug Abuse Response Team (DART) and security personnel is trained to use Narcan - the heroin antidote drug - it's a response to the heroin epidemic everywhere in our area, not just the library.

"What we're really doing is training our staff because this is a society issue," said Ben Malczewski. "A large issue that affects everybody, in all public places."

As for the library-goer WTOL 11's Emily Nelson spoke to Monday who mentioned those syringe bins in the bathroom stalls? Malczewski said those are for diabetics, not heroin addicts.

"Just like you'd see in any restaurant, mall or other public place," said Malczewski.

Jeffrey Sabo manages security at all Lucas County public libraries. He's worked there for 13 years and said in that time there have been a handful of overdose cases - none of which in the last six months.

"Restrooms are checked on a regular basis, not just for that [heroin], but for a lot of safety reasons," said Sabo. "We have not really had a lot of incidences with heroin here in the library."

For more information on the Lucas county DART program, click here.

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