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County police chiefs offer support for Issue 14


    Avon Lake Police Chief Duane Streator speaks about the opioid epidemic and Issue 1 on Wednesday afternoon, October 31 during a meeting of the Lorain County police chiefs in Elyria.



    Wellington police chief Tim Barfield speaks about the opioid epidemic and Issue 1 on Wednesday afternoon, October 31 during a meeting of the Lorain County police chiefs in Elyria.



ELYRIA — In the quest to battle the drug epidemic, the Lorain County Police Chiefs Association announced Wednesday its support for Issue 14, which — if approved by voters Tuesday — would fund the county’s planned Recovery One addiction treatment center.

During a brief news conference on the steps of the old courthouse in downtown Elyria, Association President and Avon Lake Police Chief Duane Streator said the chiefs association fully supports the issue.

“In the long run, it only helps us,” Streator said.

If approved, the 0.30-mill levy would raise $2 million annually and cost the owner of a $100,000 an extra $10.50 in property taxes. Streator called it a “cost-effective” way to treat the opioid crisis and addiction epidemic in Lorain County.

Money generated by the levy would be used to turn the former Golden Acres nursing home on North Ridge Road in Amherst Township into a one-stop addiction recovery, detox and support center. Partners in the effort are the Lorain County commissioners, the Nord Family Foundation, The LCADA Way, the Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board and the Lorain County Board of Mental Health.

“Issue 14 is trying to battle drug addiction in a positive way,” Avon Police Chief Richard Bosley said.

Streator said it bothers the chiefs that there are too few treatment facilities in the county, with other barriers being patients’ insurance or the distance they would have to travel to find proper care.

The chiefs agree the county’s plan is a step in the right direction and appreciate county leaders’ willingness “to get involved rather than wait,” Streator said.

“It’s another tool to help the citizens afflicted with this opioid problem,” he said. “I applaud them for stepping up.”

Already faced with limited resources, the chiefs know the drug epidemic is a problem “we know we can’t arrest our way out of,” Streator said.

Chief Deputy Dennis Cavanaugh of the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office said the law enforcement community is not opposed to helping addicts find help, and “new ways to work with our communities.”

In recent years, that has included the increased use of the anti-overdose drug naloxone, the creation of a Common Pleas Recovery Court and an Opiate Overdose Response Team at the Sheriff’s Office, Cavanaugh and Wellington Police Chief Tim Barfield said, sharing ways police and courts help addicts beyond just putting them in handcuffs.

And instead of chiefs having to help addicts find available and sometimes costly recovery beds in Florida, California or Colorado — as Streator said they have in the past — Recovery One is “a resource right in this county” that only needs some rehabilitation before it is ready to house treatment options, Barfield said.

For the amount of need out there in Lorain County, “we could use a couple Golden Acres,” Barfield added.

Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’ Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.

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