Centerville community members address opioid epidemic

CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – Last weekend, The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office investigated 15 suspected overdose deaths.

In Centerville, police have responded to five overdose calls this years. Last year, they had four calls over the entire year.

Centerville Police say they don’t have some of the problems other areas around them are having. However, they decided to hold a community forum to engage the community on opioid abuse.

In attendance was Rocky Toler. A recovered addict who says he spent 14 years in prison.

Toler says he’s clean now. He has a wife, a kid and is about to close on his first house.

“I can’t go back to prison. I can’t go back to using drugs. I just can’t to be successful. I have to continue to share my story. It makes me feel I have an opportunity to know that I can succeed,” said Toler.

Now a free man, Rocky is doing his part to find a solution to opioid abuse.

“I actually go downtown into the community. To recruit people to come to reentry that has been to jail before.” said Toler.

He adds, “When that person is at their lowest in their life, where they can make the wrong choice, we are there to intercede and to prevent that from happening.”

As Rocky hits the streets, Centerville police officer, John Davis says the problem isn’t going to be solved by one person or by one agency.

“The police department, we are not going to be able to arrest our way out of it. Treatment is not going to be the sole source. We are going to have to take this on as a community,” said Davis.

In Centerville, all officers carry the overdose combatant, Narcan and are trained in its administration.

Panel members at the forum said that if you find someone who you suspect has overdosed, call 911 right away and do not try and take them to help.

“There are a couple of things specifically we can do as a community. One is to please activate the 911 system if you ever find someone who is experiencing an overdose, do not take them to yourself.”

Authorities say they are not in the position to stop the epidemic, but rather to maintain the problem and focus on finding the source of the drugs hitting the market.

 

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