Summit County declares state of emergency for opiate crisis
The opiate crisis has led Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro to declare a state of emergency, announcing plans to donate 25 acres supporting a treatment and recovery campus at the former Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation site in the village of Lakemore.
In the State of the County address Wednesday afternoon, Executive Ilene Shapiro announced she signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency in an effort to combat the heroin and opiate epidemic in the area.
In the past five years, Shapiro said the county estimates that it has spent nearly $112 million of local taxpayer funds dealing with drug and opiate related issues, with projections pointing to an increase of more than $40 million over the next five years.
“Over a ten-year period of time, the county will spend over a quarter of a billion dollars simply trying to keep up with the epidemic,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro noted that the epidemic has directly impacted the county in several ways including:
- The number of autopsies performed by the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office has increased 47 percent since 2012.
- Ohio’s mobile morgue unit was placed in the county five times.
- Since Sept., 372 accidental drug overdoses were reported in Summit County.
- 7,720 drug overdoses were reported since 2012. Of those, 1,076 of the overdoses resulted in deaths.
- Summit County Children Services projects to spend more than $15 million on the placement of children in homes other than their parents, up 22 percent from 2012.
Shapiro announced that it intends to file a lawsuit against the opiate manufacturers and distributors "who caused so much pain for many.
Shapiro has announced a partnership with Restore Addiction Recovery, led by Dan Gregory, and Hope United (formerly known as Breaking Barriers), a non-profit organization aimed at raising awareness of the growing epidemic, to bring a sober-living facility to Summit County.
If the plan is approved by county council, 25 acres of the former site of the Edwin Shaw Rehabilitation Center will be given to the non-profits to create a new long-term in-patient treatment center and sober living community center.
Restore Addiction recovery is planning a 25,000 square foot, 75-bed facility for long-term addiction recovery.
Hope United is working to to raise $10 million to build a “state-of-the-art” campus on the site, which was once home to those seeking treatment for tuberculosis.
The campus would house a year-long treatment facility, residential housing and after-care community center called “Tyler’s Redemption Place.” The center is named after Tyler Bornstein, the son of Hope United founders Travis and Shelly Bornstein, who died from a heroin overdose. The 23-year-old Lake High School graduate was found dead from a heroin overdose in a vacant lot.
Travis and Shelly Bornstein bought the property where their son was found and originally had plans to build a treatment/community center at the site. Those plans have now been shifted to a possible memorial site for those who have lost their live to heroin and opiate addiction.
As part of Hope United's mission, the group travels to schools, like Roberts Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls, to raise awareness on the epidemic. Bornstein delivered a presentation to students on Tuesday morning.
Shapiro said several new resources and tools have been implemented in the county including:
- Quick response teams in local police departments
- Increased ADM investment of $3 million for treatment, education and prevention services.
- Summit County Public Health’s comprehensive data collection and reporting.
- The Summit County Turning Point Drug Court, which received a #1 million federal grant to expand and continue their operations.
The county also formed a partnership between Summit County Land Bank and FI Community Housing to offer a new location for their services. A new building was leased to FI Housing to keep more than a dozen treatment beds in the area.