SABINA — Mention in council chambers of the deadly addiction scourge prompted village officials to make suggestions about targeting it.
Sabina Police Chief Keynon Young said he is concerned that if the response focuses solely on opioids, then if meth were to become the drug of choice he thinks it could be hard to turn around and use the funds earmarked for battling heroin against another drug of abuse “even if it’s the same problem in the end.”
Bureaucracy, he said, could get in the way of a flexible or nimble approach to the particular problems arising from various drugs of abuse and addiction.
The comments by Councilman Bob Storer centered on the crisis’ connections to mental health and also on preventive action.
“If we can get to them ahead of time in the school level and get them on the right track, then they can find a brighter way to get into life than to try to do it through drugs,” said Storer at the Thursday session of village council.
To that end, he suggested school counseling programs could point more in that direction.
Councilwoman Peggy Sloan said a big problem stems from people with drug addiction getting a felony on their record and then nobody wants to hire them.
She suggested at least some of the tax money going toward drug rehab be provided instead to factories as an incentive to employ people with drug-related felony records.
Lacking a job and its income, a lot of those with drug-related felony records “fall right back into the same old routine,” said Sloan. And so sometimes that means these individuals are “back out on the streets and homeless because the family has given them a pitch to the curb and they’re right back to square one,” she said.
The comments from the three village officials came after county commissioner candidate James Bowling said he agreed with Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck’s recent statement that locally there needs to be a more comprehensive strategy on the opioid epidemic. Bowling said as commissioner he would be willing to take a lead on that.
Council on Thursday hired Lindsey M. Fleissner as the new village law director and prosecutor. Fleissner has been with the Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office since January 2016, and has also worked for the Clinton County Public Defender’s Office. She graduated in 2012 from the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
She was awarded a one-year contract to provide legal services to the Village of Sabina at the annual salary of $9,600.
Earlier this year, then-Village Law Director Melissa Upthegrove said keeping the position no longer made sense for her from a public employee pension standpoint.
During the Development and Flood Relief Committee report, Chairperson Bob Storer said he wants to learn the rent costs and owners’ names of vacant commercial buildings that are up for rent in town. He hopes new council persons Vicki Mongold and Bruce Gottschalk can come up with ideas on what types of businesses to encourage for those vacant spaces.
In Mayor Dean Hawk’s report, he stated that two weeks ago, with the cooperation of an Orchard Avenue property owner, Councilman Gottschalk and Village Administrator Rob Dean “wearing chest-high waders” were able to remove fallen trees and brush blocking a portion of Wilson Creek using a backhoe and some tools.
The blockage may have contributed significantly to flooding on the town’s west side, said the mayor.
Chief Young announced there is a new medication disposal dropbox located in the police lobby for the public to get rid of bottles of outdated prescription medicine.
Sloan announced there will be an EMS training class coming up soon at the SRWW Joint Fire District 2 and EMS facilities in Sabina. She wants people to realize there is some financial compensation involved in working with EMS. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and the fire district’s non-emergency phone number is 937-584-4132.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.