WILMINGTON — In contrast to local overdoses spiraling upward recently, the drug court judge told 14 drug court participants he is so proud of them for having no positive drug screens since early August.
Moreover, in addition to the state of Ohio’s drug overdose alert issued Dec. 29 for Clinton County, the overall number of overdoses and drug use have gone up throughout the pandemic, noted Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck, who presides over drug court.
But despite the participants’ encouraging drug screen reports, the upswing in local ODs was discussed at the close of the Jan. 8 drug court session to bring home the need for the attendees to keep taking care of themselves.
During the discussion, You-Turn Recovery (drug court) Case Manager Jessica Harrington said one of the recent local overdoses was the fiancé of her daughter’s best friend. He overdosed on Jan. 4 when he thought he was getting meth and the drug ecstasy.
He went into cardiac arrest “and little by little the rest of his organs began shutting down” due to heart failure, and he died Jan. 8, Harrington reported. The victim was in his early 20s, got engaged as of Christmas Day, and was a very handsome young man who had an almost 2-year-old son, she added.
Rudduck followed up with a personal story of his own. A young woman who he was wanting to admit to drug court came to his courtroom Jan. 7 and she showed up under the influence. Narcan — an emergency overdose treatment — had to be used and she was taken to the hospital.
The judge said it is telling that a person coming to the courtroom to be admitted to the drug court used drugs ahead of time.
The last Rudduck heard, the woman is alive.
Recovery Liaison James Crafton with the Clinton County Common Pleas Court’s Adult Probation Department was asked by Rudduck to talk to the drug court participants “why all of a sudden, bang, we have these spikes in overdoses here in Clinton County.”
The state agency that declared the OD alert in Clinton County believed there was “a bad batch” of drugs responsible for the cluster of overdoses, according to Crafton.
He compared getting drugs from a garage dealer who’s mixing up substances in a garage somewhere, to what is manufactured for pharmacies.
When drugs are professionally made, there are binding agents that go with the medication and help to distribute it through your body, Crafton said. And pharmaceutical manufacturers have very pricey machines that mix the components by nanograms, he said.
But when you go out into the streets for drugs, someone has mixed it utilizing credit cards, in blenders, or they’re using kitchen whisks. Dry materials do not blend, Crafton said, and if a garage dealer wants to mix fentanyl with heroin, it’s like putting Cheerios and Rice Krispies in a bag and shaking it.
Continuing with the comparison, he said he’d bet money that you wouldn’t that way come up with the exact same amount of Cheerios and of Rice Krispies in a dosage cup.
The recovery liaison worker warned drug court participants, “There’s a dangerous snake in the garden right now.”
During the status hearings for the participants, Intensive Supervision Officers Harrington and Brenda Harris commended individuals for asking for help when they need it during stressors or emotional triggers; for requesting resources; for reaching out when they feel down; and for being willing to try different avenues when it comes to coping techniques.
The judge encouragingly said to one participant in recovery, “Each day goes by, you get a little stronger, a little stronger.”
Two certificates were presented to participants. The Eager Award went to Rhonda Riley. She received the award for persevering through large stressors and maintaining sobriety and employment.
The You-Turn Star Client award was presented to Melinda Conger. She’s been in drug court since early November of 2020, and has made tremendous progress in treatment while maintaining sobriety, said Harrington.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.