‘Not going to arrest our way out of it’

The heroin epidemic has changed the way many do business, including his office, Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell said during a recent program focusing on the epidemic.

“I have always been a hard charger, but when this heroin epidemic came along I recognized in short order that we are not going to arrest our way out of it, are not going to charge our way out of it,” he said.

‘I didn’t want to die a junkie’

Kendell was among speakers at a three-night Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week program at the Troy-Miami County Public Library recently presented by the Tri-County Board of Recovery and Mental Health Services, Miami County Public Health and Miami County Recovery Council.

People are being seen in the courtroom today that would not be seen ordinarily, Kendell said. He hears comments from relatives and friends of defendants who say they are good at sports, are musicians and so forth, but took a wrong turn.

He told of hearing from families spending their life savings and retirement trying to pull their loved one out of addiction to heroin or other opioids.

“I have seen how widespread it is. There is no such thing as just harming the person because there’s so many around that it affects,” he said. “The people that I see in the courtroom and otherwise, they don’t want to be there. They don’t want to be addicted to this stuff anymore than I do. But once you are in, you are all in.”

More people are being charged with involuntary manslaughter in overdose deaths where the connection between the deceased and the provider/seller can be established, Kendell said.

For others who have used and face charges, prosecutor recommendations for sentencing at times are for treatment versus time behind bars, he said.

“We will put resources toward people, help them get some help,” he said. The Miami County Recovery Council, which frequently works with those undergoing treatment, has seen an increase in court referrals, said Thom Grim, Recovery Council executive director.

Kendell said he was troubled hearing people question the use of Narcan to revive people, sometimes repeatedly.

“Who among us can put a price tag on a human life and say, ‘three strikes and you are out.’ Are you putting an officer in that position?” he asked.

“We foot the bill, we take care of our own and we do it until we get through this crisis,” Kendell said. “If that’s my child, I want you to do everything you can. … Who can argue with that?”


An unlikely heroin fighter: Mom in SUV

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.

Source link