EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – When the heroin crisis hit the Mahoning Valley, East Liverpool was thrust into the national spotlight.
First, police and the city released a photo of a young boy in a car with two adults that overdosed. That photo quickly made national news. Then, a police officer overdosed when he accidentally touched the painkiller fentanyl while on the job.
Recently, police have been able to breathe a sigh of relief, however.
This October, they were called out for only one overdose. That’s compared to more than 15 overdoses in October 2016.
“You’ll notice that the clientele that are walking downtown streets today is a world of difference compared to a year ago,” said Brian Allen, safety service director of East Liverpool.
The city credits the drop with the high amount of drug raids and arrests.
“Just Sunday, the drug dealer wasn’t in town 10 minutes when he was reported,” Allen said. “Within a half hour of him being in town he was in handcuffs and on our bench.”
Including that arrest, a lot have been made through the city’s See Something Say Something Campaign. Chief John Lane says it’s made drugs harder to find and sell here.
“We’ve been definitely kicking more doors in or just getting involved with the arrest warrants,” he said. “Anybody dealing with those substances will tend to push outside of the city.”
The biggest thing officials say has helped is their work with Family Care Ministries.
“Whether it’s the jail, the schools, families — maybe an overdose happened, and we go to the home with the police and just let them know that there’s a genuine way out of this life with addiction,” said Josh Lytle, of Family Care Ministries.
Family Care Ministries is a faith-based, non-profit organization whose mission is to help individuals and families overcome life-controlling problems.
Lytle said their goal is to show the person who has overdosed that there is still hope.
“Just one of the most recent ones that happened, we responded right away,” he said. “We got that young lady into a detox center and she’s now in a long term in-house facility experiencing the same thing that I went through.”