Unfortunately, Ohio has the distinction of having one of the nation’s highest rates of opiate deaths, with 4,139 dying of overdoses in 2016–an average of 11.3 people a day. Wood County has not been immune to the Ohio Opioid Epidemic. In 2016 there were at least 16 opiate overdose deaths in Wood County.

Commissioner Ted Bowlus is working as a member of the Wood County Opiate Task Force, which has helped to develop an Addiction Response Collaborative program (ARC). The ARC is a multi-pronged approach to battling Wood County’s opioid crisis. It is a hybrid form of the Drug Abuse Response Team (DART), which is currently implemented in Lucas County, Ohio. The intent of ARC is to obtain treatment for overdose victims and other drug offenders. With certain offenders, the program can be implemented instead of placing offenders into the traditional court system.

In order to implement the program, ARC has been placed under the umbrella of Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson’s office. Prosecutor Dobson has designated a Coordinator, Belinda Brooks, who is responsible for following up with cases and keeping records. Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylysyn has also designated a Deputy, Ryan Richards, who is assigned to cases from the perspective of law enforcement.

The Wood County Opiate Task Force is working on the narcotic epidemic from many different angles, including education, drug awareness and prevention, and advocating for legislative changes. The Task Force will continue its work until we control this deadly epidemic in our county and, hopefully, across Ohio.

For more information about the Wood County Opiate Task Force, visit their Facebook Page.

Click here for useful links about the Ohio Opioid Epidemic.

Do you or someone you know in the greater Toledo Ohio area need mental health or addiction assistance? Dial 211 to talk to the Northwest Ohio Recovery Helpline to receive mental health and addiction treatment.