Teamwork is being touted by Bucyrus Police Chief David Koepke for helping to put a dent in the local drug problem and push Crawford County to the forefront on fighting the heroin and opiate epidemic.
Bucyrus Police Chief Dave Koepke said on Friday that law enforcement, emergency service personnel and others were called to an emergency meeting by the Ohio Attorney General’s office in regards to the heroin and opiate epidemic on Thursday.
“Chief Saterfield of Galion, Detective Ed Rieke of the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office, Chief Doan of the Plymouth Police Department, Captain Greathouse, Bucyrus Fire Chief Keller and I joined over 800 Ohio law enforcement officials to attend an emergency meeting with Attorney General DeWine in Columbus, at the Mount Hebron Missionary Baptist Church,” Koepke said. “There is legislation in the works to tighten the way opiates are prescribed which I think will help the situation since many people became addicted to prescription pain medication before turning to heroin.”
Koepke said that forces around Crawford County, including law enforcement, social services, counseling, education, churches, courts, volunteers, medical, fire, emergency medical technicians and others, have demonstrated teamwork, collaboration and dedication to join the struggle against the heroin epidemic.
“Our area was hit harder than most. I think it was Captain Greathouse that I first heard say that we can’t arrest our way out of this and now people across the state are saying that. The position Crawford County was in back in 2010 with the opiate epidemic is where other cities are now. We have many volunteers in the community that have risen up to help people who are addicted and that has made a huge difference. Progress has been seen thanks to an “all of the above” approach with awareness and response to opiate addiction and overdoses on all fronts,” Koepke said. “We are reminded that the challenge remains with a non-fatal overdose over the weekend and a traffic stop and discovery of heroin Tuesday.”
Bucyrus Mayor Jeff Reser, Law Director Ratliff, Prosecutor Matthew Crall, and ADAMH Board Director Jodi Demo-Hodgins were other local representatives at the event.
“It was a valuable event with innovative ideas being shared. Law enforcement in Crawford County will continue to work together, responding to the epidemic of opiate addiction and overdoses. We appreciate and rely on your assistance to help others overcome addiction, prevent overdoses and have a safer community,” Koepke said.
Saterfield was unavailable for comment Friday.
Koepke said the fight against the epidemic must continue.
“In the city of Bucyrus, with the exception of deaths from natural causes, overdose deaths are the number one cause of death,” Koepke said.
Koepke said he congratulates and encourages everyone in recovery.
“We want them to remember that we care about them, they are not alone, and we support their effort to stay on the recovery path,” Koepke said.