Last updated: January 25. 2014 6:59PM - 1099 Views
By Heather Rutz hrutz@civitasmedia.com

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LIMA —The state and region are taking action to fight heroin abuse.

Locally, the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Allen, Auglaize and Hardin Counties started a pilot project in the fall of 2013 providing help to those battling heroin addiction.

The pilot is based through the Kenton office of Lima Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Programs, Coleman Behavioral Health and Hope Recovery Center, all funded by the recovery board.

The board’s first attempt at helping people addicted used about $100,000 to send people to residential treatment, board Executive Director Mike Schoenhofer said.

The effort did not work, Schoenhofer said, as the 20 to 25 people all relapsed.

“You think get you cleaned up, off the thing. No, you’re life doesn’t change. The addiction is so strong, it takes over and you need a whole bunch of stuff to help you move beyond the addiction,” Schoenhofer said. “We were asking someone to do something that was impossible.”

The new program is costing close to $400,000 and uses wrap-around services, including medication-assisted treatment, peer recovery coaches and significant outpatient treatment and counseling. A little more than 40 clients are being served now, but the program has the capacity to serve 80.

Those battling heroin addiction now can take one of two medications designed to take away urges and cravings for the drug and also minimize sickness that comes with withdrawal. One medication is a film that dissolves under the tongue and the other is a monthly injection.

Lima UMADAOP peer recovery coaches Joni Hollon and Danielle Snyder support clients in recovery, helping them re-engage with loved ones, get back to school or work and stay out of legal trouble.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine launched a new heroin unit this month. The $1 million effort includes investigators, lawyers, and drug abuse awareness specialists, helping to combat issues associated with the heroin epidemic, such as crime, addiction, and overdose deaths.

If you are seeking help for yourself or a loved one, call the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Allen, Auglaize and Hardin Counties’ We Care Hope Line at 800-567-4673. The number is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For other resources, visit the board’s website, http://wecarepeople.org for help listed by county and agency.

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