June 29, 2016

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More treatment sought to address Medina County heroin epidemic

Tom Miller

Sheriff Tom Miller

Judge James Kimbler

Judge James Kimbler

Medina County Sheriff Tom Miller and Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler will discuss ways to combat the growing heroin problem in the county on a cable television program that will be aired throughout August on area public access channels.

The sheriff and the judge are working together to find ways to treat defendants who are suffering from heroin addiction and not just punish them.

“The real focus in helping people recover from drug addiction needs to be in the ongoing treatment … over an extended period of time,” Miller said. “By working with Judge Kimbler we hope to help the individual succeed in the program as well as keeping any information provided protected while awaiting trial.”

The idea of a more intensive treatment program has been proposed by Judge Kimbler.

Kimbler’s proposal would open up the east pod of the Medina County Jail as a short-term rehabilitation center for offenders with opiate and heroin addictions.

Kimbler said most offenders use jail to physically detox, but the legal system is doing little to keep them clean in the long run.

Sheriff Miller said the program has the potential to be effective.

“The offenders have to volunteer for it and follow the program,” Miller said. “Obviously, there is potential for them to be more successful by staying in the program.”

Sheriff Miller visited Greene County, where the legal system is offering intensive treatment to offenders who have substance abuse issues.

The Greene Leaf Therapeutic Community Program has been in operation since 2002, and serves as the only residential substance abuse program within a jail facility in Ohio.

The Greene County program is a six month residential alcohol and drug treatment program that uses cognitive behavioral therapy to provide intensive substance abuse treatment that includes: Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings, life skills classes, case management services, community service outings and group and individual counseling.

Miller said Medina could use Greene as a model, but would seek improve on the program.

“The difference of what we are suggesting verses what is going on in Greene County, is we are willing to begin treatment for those that are awaiting trial” Miller said.

Miller and Kimbler have recorded their discussion on the cable show “Law Talk,” hosted by John Celebrezze, an attorney with the Medina law firm of Marco and Marco.

The show will air on Wadsworth Cable (WCTV) public access Channel 15, Brunswick Area Television (BAT) public access Channel 21, and Armstrong Cable public access Channel 37 in Medina County along with Clear Picture Channels 21 & 22 in Wooster and Massillon.

Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or adavis@medina-gazette.com.

Andrew Davis About Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis covered Medina city government for The Gazette from January 2014 to May 2015. Contact The Gazette's news department at (330) 721-4065 or areanews@medina-gazette.com.