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Meth on the rise, fentanyl 'still a big problem'

Zoe Greszler • Oct 24, 2017 at 9:00 AM

GREENWICH — While fentanyl still leads the way as most overdose-causing drug in the county, police are beginning to see a comeback in another equally dangerous substance — methamphetamine. 

Huron County sheriff’s deputy and school D.A.R.E. officer Mitchell Cawrse told parents and community members the dangers of a variety of drugs and how to spot if someone might be using them. The meeting was held at South Central High School on Wednesday with fewer than 10 parents and community members in attendance. 

With the county’s drug crisis ever on the rise, community leaders aren’t the only ones trying to learn how to move forward. Dealers are constantly evolving to keep up with the changing needs of each addict as well, even altering the drugs they offer. Cawrse said that’s what has facilitated the return of meth.

He said once someone who is addicted to opiates was put on a medication, Vivitrol, using their drug of choice would make them ill. To continue to receive the high, without the medicine’s side effects, Cawrse said some have switched to meth, a non-opiate which is unaffected by Vivitrol or the revival drug Narcan.

Cawrse said this is dangerous because of the substances mixed with the drug before it’s used. 

“They’ll combine it with with battery acid, Drano, lantern fuel, anitfreeze,” he said. 

“I tell the kids (in my D.A.R.E. class) it’s like taking a red Solo cup, going down the chemical cleaner isle in Walmart and pouring little bit of every cleaner in the cup. Then when you’ve reached the end, taking drink of it. That’s how bad meth is.”

Cawrse said while methamphetamine could be a little less addictive than heroin, it’s more addictive than cocaine and “life altering.” He said that’s not to say the war on opioid drugs is over though.

“Ohio won the trophy — No. 1 in the nation for opioid-related deaths. In 2017 we’re expected to reach 10,000 opioid overdose deaths. That’s not just overdoses; that’s the deaths,” he said, adding the sheriff’s office recently responded to its youngest overdose death in county history — an 18-year-old boy. “Fentanyl is still a big problem.”

Cawrse said in one of the recent D.A.R.E. classes a sixth-grader came up to him during a class, saying she recognized something they were going over in class.

“She said ‘Somebody I know takes a tube and puts it in a white powder and snorts it up their nose. What is that?’ I told her we’ll talk about that later after class,” he said. “The thing is it’s not just high school; sixth-graders are seeing it; kindergartners are seeing it. Our kids are seeing this at all ages.”

The deputy said among high school and college students the “big ones” right now are putting different drugs in vape pens or using Adderall and Ritalin. 

“Be involved in your kids’ life. Know how they act; know how they’re doing; know who their friends are and what they’re doing. Check for signs or (paraphernalia) in hiding spots — vehicles is a big one.

Huron County Commissioners Joe Hintz, Terry Boose and Skip Wilde took time at the meeting to address the audience about the matter as well.

“If finances are the issue or getting it in your area is an issue, we can help you,” Boose said.

Wilde also asked all students, parents and concerned community members to think of ideas, “anything that could help, let us know; bounce ideas off of us.”

When we were at the fair, people would come up and some would say ‘They made their bed, now let them sleep in it,’” Hintz said.

“You don’t understand. This heroin epidemic is so bad it’s almost like you’re possessed by a demon. ... If we don’t get a hand on this, it will literally destroy us from within. We’re making great gains, but we have a long way to go.”

“These kids are our future,” Sheriff Todd Corbin said near the end of the meeting. “We have to take a stand and show them the right way to go. We can only do that if we stand up and take the lead together.” 

* * *

Huron County Sheriff’s deputy and D.A.R.E. officer Mitchell Cawrse said some items that might be found with an addict of several drugs include:

• Burnt spoons

• Tiny baggies or balloons, often colorful

• Tan or white-ish, powdery substances

• Dark, sticky residue

• Small glass pipes

• Syringes 

• Rubber tubing 

• “Snort tubes,” like pen tubes

• Makeshift pill crushers, even screws off of vents

• Nail files with white powder residue

• Razor blades

• Small pieces of tin foil

 

Symptoms that can be displayed when someone is using a drug, such as heroin, meth or a prescription pill:

• Dry mouth and flushed skin

• Sores on body

• Itching, nausea and vomiting 

• Tiny pupils

• Sleepy eyes and a tendency to nod off 

• Slow breathing

• Hallucinations 

• Mood swings

• Runny nose

• Slurred speech

• Constipation 

• Neglect of grooming or loss of appetite 

• Covering arms with long sleeves

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