Putnam County officials address opioid issues


By Jennifer Peryam - jperyam@limanews.com



Kalida Police Chief Jim Gulker holds up Narcan used to treat drug overdose patients.

Kalida Police Chief Jim Gulker holds up Narcan used to treat drug overdose patients.


Jennifer Peryam | The Lima News

OTTAWA — A recovering heroin addict and a mother shared their stories Tuesday night during a special program at the Putnam County Educational Service Center

A sports injury his junior year in high school led to the man being prescribed pain pills.

“My script ran out and I was introduced to cocaine and snorted that and Oxycontin,” he said.

When it became hard to inject, he turned to heroin.

He had a daughter and thought that would help end his drug addiction problem, but that did not help.

“The deeper into addiction I got the easier it was to come across,” he said.

“I lost respect and trust from my family and there were times I would drive down the interstate and be shooting up.”

He would use family credit cards to pay for his drug habit and would work enough to have money to feed his drug addiction.

In 2016 everything changed when he was in a vehicle and helped his friend shoot up and his friend slumped down over the steering wheel after he helped him shoot up. He rushed him to the hospital and the thought of his friend dying from an overdose scared him. His friend did not die, but that day always stuck with him and he realized he wanted to stop doing drugs.

He went to rehab and now has a job.

“I don’t know why it took seeing my friend almost die to get me to change,” he said.

A mother of a local heroin addict told her story of how her daughter struggled with self-esteem and anxiety issues and turned to using drugs.

“When you have an addiction problem you are no longer recognizable,” she said.

Her family started noticing money missing as well as guns and jewelry that the daughter had stolen to buy drugs.

“We knew if she wasn’t in rehab she would be using, and we were told if we didn’t get her the help she needed she would never get better,” she said.

She got the help she needed and now has her daughter back in her life.

Kalida Police Chief Jim Gulker said law enforcement uses NARCAN to help revive those who have overdosed.

“Heroin does not discriminate by race, gender, age or socio-economic status,” Gulker said.

He said in 2016 there were three drug related deaths in Putnam County, 60 drug overdoses, and Narcan was used 11 times. In 2017, there were four drug related deaths with 70 total drug overdoses with Narcan used 13 times. This year there has been one drug related death, 22 overdoses with seven Narcan uses.

“I never thought I would have to carry Narcan in my pocket. I thought it would be handcuffs, bullets and guns, but now its a pocket mask for CPR, latex gloves for CPR and now I have to carry Narcan to,” Gulker said.

The presentation was a follow up from an assembly attended by high school students to address the topic.

Kalida Police Chief Jim Gulker holds up Narcan used to treat drug overdose patients.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2018/11/web1_deputy.jpgKalida Police Chief Jim Gulker holds up Narcan used to treat drug overdose patients. Jennifer Peryam | The Lima News

By Jennifer Peryam

jperyam@limanews.com

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.

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