THE WAR ON THE HEROIN/OPIATE EPIDEMIC THROUGHOUT AMERICA
- Thanks Chief Golden for tackling these troubling questions concerning the heroin epidemic, and in particular Nordonia Hills. When did you begin to see a startling change in heroin arrests, overdoses and deaths?
Heroin has been abused for years. It was big in the ‘60’s and has since made come back. I’d say in the past few years we have seen the problem get worse but this past year has been really bad.
- Is the Macedonia Police force equipped and trained to administer the NarCan injection that has the ability to bring patients back from an overdose?
MPD does not carry NarCan. The police officers arrive on scene and assess the situation because many of these calls come in as an unknown medical problem because the caller is afraid to say they were using drugs. Our Fire Dept is very quick to respond and gets to the scene right behind us and administers the NarCan.
- Would your surmise that an increase in robberies, break ins, is due to the increase addiction to heroin?
Yes. And these abusers are sometimes breaking into homes and only stealing medication or they go to open houses and steal medications. Addicts will do just about anything to get their fix.
- Are you finding these drug operatives are setting up shop in some of the local motels?
We find a lot of abuse goes on at some of the motels. Just last week we had two overdoses in the same room several hours apart.
- I’ve seen you at several drug seminars the past few months. What have you been able to learn from these meetings?
I’ve learned several things. 1. There is no easy solution to this problem. 2. For as several as this problem is very few people turn out to these seminars. 3. Family members see the signs of drug abuse but make excuses and try to explain away what they are seeing. Remember, closing your eyes to a problem doesn’t make it go away just because you can’t see it. 4. Good kids are getting hooked because of prescribed pain medications.
- Are you finding the heroin epidemic crosses over all age, race, ethnic, and social classes when dealing with these addicts?
It does but the majority of people we see abusing heroin in this area are 18 to mid 20’s.
- Do you find that you get many repeat offenders when incarcerating offenders?
We see many of the same people abusing heroin. Most times it’s when they overdose. We have quite a few residents that have been saved by NarCan 3, 4, or even 5 times. The problem is it’s a numbers game. Eventually the numbers catch up to you. It only takes one time that we can’t get to you in time and you’re dead.
- Can you offer the readers some figures over the past 3 years on the startling rise in heroin/opiate arrests in Macedonia alone?
I don’t have the figures off hand but this year seems to have a large rise in overdoses.
- Does Macedonia have a drug unit, devoted to contraband, or is that more a general, daily operative to your police?
Our officers are always on the lookout for it. We also have a detective bureau that works drug cases. We have specialized equipment and we also have a K-9 unit.
- The Macedonia Police and all men in blue nationwide are battling this epidemic. Should stricter sentencing be dealt by the courts to the dealers?
I’m not sure what the answer is ref sentencing. I don’t have the relevant data to say one way or another. Our jails are full of people convicted of drug offenses yet we don’t seem to be able to stop this problem. On the other hand, there has to be consequences for getting involved in this illegal activity. Judge Teodosio said he has some success with his drug court so maybe that’s part of the answer.
- Should the public be more willing to report dealers to the police?
Yes. Some people don’t want to get involved while some do want to help. Those who don’t want to get involved need to remember that allowing this type of activity only brings down a neighborhood and a community. As for those who report drug dealers I ask that they have patience. I’ve talked to some people who’ve reported drug activity and they told me the PD didn’t do anything about it. NOT TRUE! We need to build a case. We need to provide the court with probable cause of drug dealing in order to get a search warrant and make arrests. People coming and going often from a house does not in and of itself prove drug dealing. The courts are very tough when requiring probable cause because entering into and searching someone home is one of the most intrusive acts that government can impose upon its citizens. Another thing people should remember is we just because they didn’t see a lot of police cars at the house and policemen running all over doesn’t mean we didn’t make an arrest elsewhere on the subject or that we didn’t search the house. Sometimes the suspect gives us permission to search the house and we do it with several officers usually from unmarked cars.
*There is no solution, or quick fix to this NATIONWIDE crisis. We can only educate and treat those with the disease. Chief Golden do you have any final words on this matter.
This epidemic is not isolated to the stereotypical drug user. Many goods kids are caught up in this because of pain medication they were prescribed from a sports injury or having their wisdom teeth out or similar thing. Approx 90% of the pain medication in the world is prescribed here in the United States. It’s obvious why people are getting hooked. I encourage everyone to be extremely careful when using prescription pain medication. Ask yourself, do I really need this medication or can I substitute it with aspirin or Tylenol. In addition, dispose of all your unused medication immediately. There is a disposal site at the Macedonia Rec Center.